Embattled MLA Steve Norn says he plans to show up for work on Monday when the Legislative Assembly resumes sitting.

Norn held an online press conference with more than a dozen journalists Thursday afternoon, Nov. 18. The video chat offered Norn the first opportunity to respond to the recommendation of the sole adjudicator who administered his conduct complaint inquiry: that he be unseated as MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh for violating his Covid-19 self-isolation period and misleading investigators, MLAs and the public about it.

MLAs have 14 days to deal with Barclay’s recommendation. Norn said his plan for Monday, when they return to session, is to take his seat, as usual. He said he has a couple of member’s statements ready to go.

He said MLAs will “go through the agenda and see what they want to do.

“I want to move on and do good work with my colleagues,” he said.

Asked about an unidentified voter that told a journalist they regret voting for Norn and “don’t trust him anymore” — before Norn’s lawyer Steven Cooper challenged whether the individual had actually voted for him — the MLA said it’s known that most of his support came from Fort Resolution and Łútsël K’é, and less so from “North of the lake.

“I’m sorry they feel that way. I’m going to be doing my job until I’m voted out … or told otherwise.”

Cooper said the inquiry was a symptom of a disease at the Legislative Assembly and an extension of the legacy of visitors misunderstanding the North started by explorer Sir John Franklin.

He said the result of the inquiry, being Barclay’s conclusion that Norn should be unseated, was “foretold and foregone,” part of an effort driven by the bureaucracy at the Legislative Assembly to punish Norn for challenging the status quo.

He also cautioned MLAs considering voting to unseat Norn. He said such a move would be “unprecedented” in the Northwest Territories, and could open the door to other MLAs being removed from office through means other than a democratic election in the future.

He said the recall legislation Norn and other MLAs are drafting in the Legislature is the right tool for the job, not the “weapon” of removal-by-colleague.

Cooper said the public health violation charge laid against Norn is still before the court. As such, he said it would be unreasonable for Norn to be expected to admit wrongdoing in the context of what he’s been accused of by public health officials.

Norn is charged with failing to complete his self-isolation by entering the legislative assembly on April 17, one day before his isolation period was scheduled to end.

The MLA maintains he was confused about the end date, and time, of his self-isolation period.

“I’m not a legal expert,” he said. “A lot of the messaging (from public health officials about the duration of isolation periods and how they are measured) confused a lot of people.”

Norn said he doesn’t believe being ticketed, as he described it, is enough to be unseated.

“It’s just not enough to lose your job over.”

Craig Gilbert

Craig is an award-winning journalist who has worked in Ontario, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta. He should be at least six feet away from you at all times.

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  1. Just read another head line where it was stated this was a step backward for reconciliation. How can being made accountable for your actions be a step backward?