YKDFN chiefs call on MLA Steve Norn to resign after alleged COVID-19 isolation breach

·2 min read
Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn pictured at the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly. The chiefs of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation are calling for Norn's resignation after he allegedly breached COVID-19 self-isolation requirements.  (Sara Minogue/CBC - image credit)
Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn pictured at the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly. The chiefs of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation are calling for Norn's resignation after he allegedly breached COVID-19 self-isolation requirements. (Sara Minogue/CBC - image credit)

The chiefs of Yellowknives Dene First Nation are calling on Northwest Territories MLA Steve Norn to resign after he allegedly breached COVID-19 self-isolation rules.

In an email to Premier Caroline Cochrane, Dettah Chief Edward Sangris and Ndilǫ Chief Ernest Betsina, wrote that their First Nation has "lost all confidence and trust in this MLA and that he should not be allowed to represent our members in the legislature."

"[We] are extremely concerned by the risks posed to our members and the NWT due to the selfish actions of the MLA in question," the email reads.

"His disregard for the COVID-19 protocols and rules as established by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer is reprehensible."

Norn represents the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh riding, which includes Dettah, Ndilǫ, Łutselk'e, and Fort Resolution.

On April 22, he identified himself and a family member as two of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 in a cluster of five cases in Yellowknife linked to École St. Patrick High School. Officials say so far, this cluster is not connected to the 14 cases associated with the outbreak at N.J. Macpherson School.

Cabin Radio first reported that Norn had visited the Legislative Assembly one day before his mandatory isolation period ended. CBC has not independently verified the report.

MLAs were set to meet today to discuss his case.

In their email, Sangris and Betsina wrote that they, along with their members, are recommending that the premier ask for Norn's resignation, adding that everyone, "including politicians and public officials, who inconsiderately puts themselves above the safety of others during the pandemic must face serious consequences for their actions."

"The Government of the Northwest Territories must take a tough stance on this incident and send a clear strong message to the people of the NWT that no one is above the law," the email says.

"We urge you and your MLAs to take strong action on this incident, if not the [Northwest Territories government] will be perceived as weak and send that wrong signal to others that the COVID-19 rules and protocols are to be disregarded."