Former N.W.T. commissioner dies at 95

Gordon Robertson, an influential civil servant who helped shape policy in the Canadian North, died Tuesday in Ottawa. He was 95.

Gordon Robertson helped develop North's education system

Gordon Robertson (centre) poses for a photo with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Gov.-Gen Edward Schreyer after Robertson was sworn in as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, in a private ceremony in Ottawa on March 2, 1982. Robertson was Commissioner of the Northwest Territories from 1953 to 1963. He died Tuesday in Ottawa at the age of 95. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Gordon Robertson, an influential civil servant who helped shape policy in the Canadian North, died Tuesday in Ottawa. He was 95.

Robertson’s federal civil service career spanned 38 years and five prime ministers.

He served as deputy minister of northern affairs and Commissioner of the Northwest Territories from 1953 to 1963.

It was during his tenure that 17 Inuit families were relocated from Inukjuak to the High Arctic.

His influence was also felt in many other aspects of northern life through that era, such as the development of the education system.

Robertson later served as Clerk of the Privy Council, Canada's top civil service position.

In 1976, he was named Companion of the Order of Canada. He retired from public service in 1979 and went on to become the president of the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

He later recounted his career as a senior public servant under multiple administrations in "Memoirs of a Very Civil Servant," which was published in 2000.

In 2004, Robertson created a scholarship for Inuit students at Carleton University. Iqaluit's Inuksuk High School was originally named the Gordon Robertson Education Centre.

In a statement yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Robertson will be remembered as a great Canadian and a devoted public servant.

with files from Canadian Press