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Description found in Archives
Sous-fonds consists of
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Sous-fonds consists of territorial records found in several government offices in Dawson City. The material included registry files from 1894 to 1955, Commissioner's letter books, applications for liquor licences, marriage licences and town lots. These original records dealt with all types of local matters including municipal services, the regulation and licencing of businesses, elections and many issues. The records created by successive administrators reflect the diversity of their mandate. Files relate to subjects as disparate as postal service, Indian affairs, Dawson City water system, road construction, hospitals, land sales, as well as applications for liquor and marriage licenses. Some of this subject matter can also be found in the files of the Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch of the Department of the Interior and its immediate successors. It should be noted that many federal employees in the Yukon performed duties at both the federal and territorial levels of government. This often blurred the line between these duties and was reflected in the archival records.
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Biography / Administrative history
The Yukon Territory Act (61 Vict., c.6, 1898) established the territory as a distinct political and administrative entity with its own executive. It was, however, administered entirely under federal authority. The chief executive officer was the commissioner, appointed by and reporting to the minister of the Department of the Interior. The commissioner had legislative powers similar to those of provincial governments, but did not control the development of natural resources and the management of Crown lands. The population peaked shortly after the discovery of Klondike gold but decline rapidly after these major placer finds were exhausted. The administration of the territory was subject to these same vicissitudes of Yukon history. It followed this "boom-bust" pattern, the size of government declining with the population outflow. In 1914 the whole apparatus of Yukon local government began reporting directly to the Controller of the Mining Lands and Yukon Branch (Interior, Annual Report, 1914, vol. 1, p. 62), rather than to the Deputy Minister of the Interior. The federal government abolished the Yukon Council, eliminated the offices of Commissioner and Administrator and significantly reduced the number of federal administrators in the territory (P.C. 745, 28 March 1918). After local Yukon protests to the actions of 1918, the federal government relented and allowed an elected Council of three members to exist, but it had little authority and was clearly subservient to Ottawa (9-10 Geo. V, c. 9). Chief executive duties were transferred to the gold commissioner, from 1918 until 1932 and then passed to the comptroller, from 1932 until 1948. A commissioner was finally reinstituted at that point. The chief executive officer of the Yukon again became a Commissioner, and for the first time since 1918-1919 local government functions began to expand, largely as the result of increasing population and economic activity generated by the northern boom begun by the Second World War. New administrators were appointed and the powers of the Yukon Council were enhanced. Following the Second World War, more and more control was given to the territorial government over matters of local jurisdiction. The Yukon Council was expanded from three to five members, and new electoral districts were created (15 Geo. VI, c. 23). The on-going restoration of local government in the Yukon after World War II meant that certain local aspects of issues such as education, road maintenance, and liquor control were of less concern to Ottawa. However, the Council had no control over the Commissioner, who ran the territorial civil service and reported directly to Ottawa. Useful administrative or general political history is also available in two monographs: David R. Morrison, The Politics of the Yukon Territories, 1898-1909, [Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1968]; and Janet Moodie Michael, From Sissons to Meyer: The Administrative Development of the Yukon government, 1948-1979, [Whitehorse: Yukon Education, Libraries and Archives Branch, 1987].
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