Steve Norn “acted unlawfully” on multiple occasions and should be removed from public office, the sole adjudicator who oversaw his conduct complaint hearing has concluded.
Ronald Barclay, the “judge” who held the inquiry into the conduct complaint against Norn, the MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, said Norn’s seat in the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories should be vacated. He wrote that Norn failed to “uphold the integrity and honour of the Legislative Assembly and its Members” and in fact brought “the integrity of their office or of the Legislative Assembly into disrepute.”
In his closing remarks, Norn’s defence lawyer, Steven Cooper, argued his client was under extreme stress during the period of 2021 under scrutiny, April, when he returned from a trip to Alberta and visited the Legislative Assembly and a Yellowknife gym before the end of his 14-day isolation period. He said Norn should face a reprimand and nothing more.
Barclay rejected that argument, writing Norn breached “every aspect” of sections 2 and 8 of that code by violating his Covid-19 isolation protocol then misleading MLAs, public health investigators, members of the media and the public about it.
“Mr. Norn has betrayed the trust and confidence of the public contrary to (section 8) of the Code of Conduct,” he writes on page 87 of his report. “Mr. Norn’s actions fall far below the standard set out in the Code of Conduct.”
Barclay wrote that the only “appropriate remedy” is for MLAs to expel Norn from the Legislature and declare his seat vacant.
It’s up to MLAs what happens to Norn next. They could fine him up to $25,000, a penalty Cooper warned would be “ruinous” to Norn, suspend him from the Legislature or eject him permanently as Barclay recommended. They are obligated to deal with Barclay’s recommendation within 14 days now that it has been delivered to the Speaker of the House, Frederick Blake Jr.
The Legislature will be back in session this Monday, Nov. 22.
This story will be updated.