N.W.T. mourns David Searle, territory's first Speaker of the Legislature

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David Searle, seen here in the N.W.T. Legislature in July 2018, standing beside his Speakers portrait. (Submitted by Katie Weaver - image credit)
David Searle, seen here in the N.W.T. Legislature in July 2018, standing beside his Speakers portrait. (Submitted by Katie Weaver - image credit)

The flags at the N.W.T. Legislature have been lowered to half-mast in recognition of the passing of the first Speaker of the Northwest Territories, David Searle.

Searle died Monday at the age of 85 following a five-year bought with cancer, according to an online obituary.

"We have lost a shining light and a great Canadian, whose legacy to the North is massive and enduring. An architect of fully representative government, his visionary work helped shape the contemporary Northwest Territories," it read in part.

Searle was first elected to the Northwest Territories Council, a precursor to the territory's Legislative Assembly, in 1967.

He was later selected to act as the first Speaker of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly.

Searle, pictured in 1969.
Searle, pictured in 1969.(NWT Archives/YK Photo fonds)

Searle was the founding president of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1974. He was a recipient of the Order of Canada in 2000, for his role in shaping the face of the N.W.T. government. He was also the first president of Scouts Canada in the region, and went on to be a professor of law at the University of British Columbia following his political career.

"Naturally his performance set a high standard for Speakers to come. He worked hard to keep decorum in the House and paved the way for what the role came to mean in a consensus system of government," said the territory's current Speaker, Frederick Blake Jr., in a statement on Thursday.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr. Searle."