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Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson denied reentry at Alaskan border

Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson was denied re-entry into Canada at the Alaskan border in late March after testing positive for Covid-19.
Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson has been absent from the NWT Legislative Assembly, however he says that it has been due the wedding of his daughter in early March and then catching Covid-19 while in Alaska over the March 25-27 weekend. NNSL file photo

Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson was denied re-entry into Canada at the Alaskan border in late March after testing positive for Covid-19.

Jacobson admitted in an interview on Thursday that he has been away from the legislative assembly for most sittings held over the last month due partly to his daughter’s wedding.

However the latest part of his absence this week, including the budget vote, he has been in isolation due to extreme sickness from the virus.

As of April 1, the Government of Canada dropped its pre-entry Covid-19 testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers. Jacobson is double vaxxed with a booster shot.

An angry and audibly ill Jacobson reached out to Northern News Services by phone on March 31 displeased with recent a Cabin Radio story the same day pointing out his absence.

“The reason I took off the last couple of weeks ago was my daughter’s wedding and then spring break happened,” Jacobson said from Fairbanks.

“Then I travelled with my son to Alaska with the full intention to head back to the assembly after spring break.”

The last day he spoke in the assembly was on Feb. 24 where he gave his reply to the budget to express his opposition.

He was absent from the sittings scheduled between Feb. 25 and March 11, during which time his daughter was married in Whitehorse on March 7.

He attended the Tok Dog Mushers Association Race of Champions 2022 in Alaska where his son competed over the weekend of March 26 to 27.

Upon trying to return to Canada, Jacobson took a Covid rapid test at the border and he was told he tested positive.

He was ordered to return to Fairbanks by border patrol.

The next day he attended a private clinic on March 28 in Tok, Alaska confirming his diagnosis and was told he could not return to Canada until April 1.

He said he was able to notify the legislative assembly of the diagnosis and provided his medical papers showing test results.

He added that he tried to make arrangements to participate in this week’s sittings but was unable because he only had his phone with him.

“I got really sick and I was so sick that I was having breathing problems and stuff like that,” he said.

“I didn’t even get to vote because there was no way I could get into (session virtually). I have no computer where I’m at. I have nothing. I just have my phone that I’m calling with but I was having problems calling.

“So I couldn’t participate in any way.”

Budget opposition

He added that there just wasn’t enough in the budget for his electoral district.

“There was nothing in it for small communities, nothing in it to support our drug addiction problems, nothing in it for housing,” he said.