(YELLOWKNIFE) Thursday, March 4, 2021 – The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Honourable Frederick Blake Jr., expresses his condolences to the family of the first Speaker of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly, the Honourable David Searle. Mr. Searle passed away on March 1, 2021.
Mr. Searle was first elected to the 6th Northwest Territories Council (the precursor to the Legislative Assembly) in 1967 representing the riding of Mackenzie North. He was elected to the 7th and 8th Councils and in his final term selected to act as the first Speaker of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly. Prior to this, meetings of the Council were presided over by the Commissioner.
“Mr. Searle was the first person to fill the role of Speaker for our Legislative Assembly, so 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 Speaker Frederick Blake Jr. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr. Searle.”
During his time in the North, Mr. Searle sat on many boards ranging from the Board of Trade to the Yellowknife District Hockey Association. He 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.
After his political career, Mr. Searle went on to be a professor of Law at the University of British Columbia and to practice environmental law.
The Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly was pleased to receive Mr. Searle as a visitor to the Legislature in July of 2018 with his grandson, Kai Searle. It was a treat for Members and staff to have the opportunity to meet a figure who played such a pivotal role in the early history of the Legislative Assembly. His Speakers’ portrait remains in the Legislature today to remind Members of his legacy.
The flags at the Yellowknife Legislature have been lowered to half-mast in recognition of the passing of the first Speaker of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable David Searle.