Northern Provinces: A Mistaken Goal


77 pages
Contains Illustrations, Maps
ISBN 0-88645-027-6




Reviewed by Kenneth M. Glazier

Kenneth M. Glazier was Chief Librarian Emeritus at the University of Calgary, Alberta.


Of all the problems facing Canada at the moment — free trade with the United States, the federal deficit, and the declining dollar — the most important issue is not the future political development of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. But the issue is nonetheless an important one that will not go away. These are vast territories whose valuable resources are being developed at an increasing pace.

The author draws on 30 years of experience as he looks at the problem and makes suggestions. From 1953 to 1963 Robertson was Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, which meant that he had the duties corresponding to those of lieutenant governor, premier, and cabinet all in one package. He was also Speaker of the Council of Northwest Territories, head of the administration, and, as a separate appointment, Deputy Minister of what was then the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources. In 1963 he became Secretary to the Cabinet of Canada and hence was involved in the turbulent years of federal provincial relations leading up to the Federal Provincial Conference of November 1981.

This treatise is a commendable presentation of the options for the North, which are of concern not only to the fewer than 70,000 people in some 40 percent of the land surface of Canada but to all Canadians who are interested in the rights of the native people and the economic and political future of the region, Robertson proposes a special status: “Autonomous Federal Territories.”


Robertson, Gordon, “Northern Provinces: A Mistaken Goal,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024,