After almost nine months on the job, the Honourable Angélique Bernard is loving her new role as the Commissioner of Yukon. That time has been mostly spent meeting people and educating them on the role of the Commissioner. Bernard notes that the responsibilities of the role are unknown to many Yukoners, since she is not the direct representative of the Queen, like a Lieutenant-Governor, even though she fulfils a similar role for the territory.
“I really want to demystify the role of the Commissioner,” Bernard said. “Lots of people say that they pass by the Taylor House, but never come inside. They’re not sure what it is.
“[I’d like] to make it less intimidating to meet the Commissioner; to meet in less-formal settings.”
As part of that community engagement, Commissioner Bernard and her staff are preparing for a Christmas open house that will take place on December 7. They are busy decorating both inside and outside of Taylor House, the Yukon Historic Site that now serves as the official offices of the Commissioner. The Christmas open house is a continuation of some of their ongoing work to make Taylor House a more-public space. They participated in the national Culture Days event at the end of September and also hosted day camps for lunch and snacks during this past summer.
The official open house will begin at 4 p.m. They have secured a tent to be erected in the yard and will serve homemade food and cocoa for visitors. A number of community choirs will be in attendance to perform, and special guest Santa Claus will stop by for a visit and photos from 5 to 6 p.m.
In addition, the Christmas event will have an invitational day component. Bernard has invited schools and daycares to come for tours throughout the day, and they will have a chance to share Christmas stories.
“It’s a way for people to come and visit,” Bernard said. “It’s a way to meet me, for those who haven’t yet.”
It will also be an opportunity to learn more about the goals Bernard has that she’d like to focus on during her term as the Commissioner of Yukon.
“My pillars are family, education, creativity and civic pride,” she said. “Education and literacy are part of my pillars. Creativity is anything to do with the arts. Creativity [is also] how people have built this territory. Civic pride is recognizing our citizens.”
Bernard will also continue the traditional Commissioner’s New Year’s Levee on January 1. She will be hosting it at the Government of Yukon Main Administration Building from 2 to 5 p.m. on January 1. “It’s my first one,” she added. “We will have awards for Public Service, Bravery and the Governor-General Academic Medal.”
The Christmas open house will be free to the public, like all the Commissioner’s events, and will run from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, December 7. For more information, visit the website at http://www.commissioner.gov.yk.ca.