'Politicians are not allowed to break the law' says N.W.T. premier

·2 min read
N.W.T. Premier Caroline Cochrane spoke with CBC's The Trailbreaker on Tuesday morning. She says no one is above the law in the territory. (Walter Strong/CBC - image credit)
N.W.T. Premier Caroline Cochrane spoke with CBC's The Trailbreaker on Tuesday morning. She says no one is above the law in the territory. (Walter Strong/CBC - image credit)

N.W.T. Premier Caroline Cochrane is doubling down on her comments that there are consequences for breaking COVID-19 protocols.

Speaking on CBC's The Trailbreaker on Tuesday morning, Cochrane said no one is above the law in the territory.

"Politicians are not allowed to break the law ... every politician is accountable to the law, none of us are above it. We are responsible for making it. We are responsible for abiding by it," said Cochrane.

Last week Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn identified himself as one of the cases and linked to a cluster of four other cases and 90 contacts.

Cabin Radio reported on Friday that Norn broke his isolation period to enter the N.W.T.'s legislature on Saturday, April 17, a full day before he told the news outlet his isolation period was supposed to end, and that a legislature employee is now in isolation.

Cochrane did confirm that someone who works at the Legislative Assembly is isolating, but did not say if Norn broke isolation rules.

"I do know that we have a worker isolating. I haven't seen the footage, I do know that we have had logs within the Legislative Assembly, so I'm sure that they will be reviewed," said Cochrane.

A CBC reporter attended the legislature building on Friday, and was told the visitor log book was not accessible to the public and a search warrant would be needed in order to see it.

People who don't follow their self-isolation plan can face hefty fines in the N.W.T.

Balancing public health and privacy

One of the positive exposure locations announced last week was École St. Patrick High School in Yellowknife.

The office of the chief public health officer decided not to name the school at the time.

Asked about that decision, Cochrane said it was one that put Dr. Kami Kandola in a "difficult position."

"It's a fine balance between protecting the public health and moving into respecting people's privacy," she said.

Dr. Kandola determined the cluster was fairly contained at the time, and had reached out to all of the identified contacts, said Cochrane.

"Personally, I had concerns as well, I know that even though Yellowknife's our capital city, that it wouldn't be long until the people found out. But again, that is the determination of the public health officer.

"But I do know that she didn't make the decision lightly."

Cochrane also reiterated that the COVID-19 situation shows the importance of being kind to one another, and getting vaccinated.

"COVID is a virus, so don't blame people. If they do get it, be kind to people. It's not the time to be judging people."