The Northwest Territory Métis Nation (NWTMN) has thrown its support behind Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn following an adjudicator’s ruling last week that he be removed from office.
Garry Bailey, president of the NWTMN which represents the South Slave Métis, said in a Nov. 19 letter to Speaker Frederick Blake Jr. that the organization opposes the forced removal of Norn.
Norn was unavailable to speak on Monday morning but said in a brief statement that he was thankful to the Métis Nation and others in his electoral district.
“I am appreciative of the outpouring of support I have received from my constituents during this turbulent time,” he said.
Since Oct. 4, Norn was the subject of a public inquiry in relation to complaints that he violated the MLA Code of Conduct during his Covid-19 self-isolation earlier this year.
Ron Barclay, who oversaw the inquiry, ruled in a disposition that Norn is unfit for office and failed to “uphold the integrity and honour of the Legislative Assembly and its Members.”
The Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories was to resume session this afternoon, Nov. 22.
Bailey said in his letter that Norn’s removal would lead to a lack of representation in the legislature both in the near and mid-term, according to the letter.
”We want to express our concern and voice our opposition to any potential expulsion,” Bailey wrote.
“We believe that Mr. Norn is a young role model for our region and have faith in his leadership and it is our opinion that he represents our citizens in the legislative assembly very well.
“By way of this letter, we ask the Assembly not to support any corrective action leading to declaring that the seat of Steve Norn is vacant.”
Bailey acknowledged Norn’s mistake in his letter and said it is important to forgive him to move forward positively.
“Covid-19 is not something we take lightly Mr. Speaker, but Mr. Norn had a family issue to deal with. We would have all (done) the same if we were in his place.”
Part of the letter also alleges that there have been many other cases, especially in the South Slave where the GNWT has not responded to people breaking Covid-19 public health rules.
“Often nothing was done by the Government to correct the actions or behaviour of a select few who had chosen to disregard the rules,” he said.
Bailey couldn’t be reached for comment before press deadline.
The NWTMN is to hold a board of directors meeting Nov. 22 and its annual general meeting Nov. 23 to 25.