Norn lawyer criticizes inquiry
The law firm representing MLA Steve Norn criticized an independent review of the Office of the Clerk’s workplace, which concluded that it was not a toxic work environment.
Steven Cooper, a partner in the firm that represented the member for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh in an inquiry into his conduct, criticized the independent firm Quintet Consulting for finding that Legislative Assembly Clerk Tim Mercer’s office was not “toxic,” despite allegations from some members and employees, including Norn.
Cooper referenced sections of the report that concluded “important problems exist which require the attention of a convening authority.”
“If that is not a toxic workplace, one wonders what Quintet would need to conclude otherwise,” he said.
Covid outbreaks in two schools
Sir John Franklin High School and St. Patrick High School were confirmed to have Covid-19 cases on Sept. 1.
By Sept. 3, three additional students at St. Pat’s were found to have contracted Covid.
The school’s administration ordered all unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated students to isolate for 10 days.
Death at sobering centre
The RCMP was called in to investigate following a sudden death at Yellowknife’s Day Centre and Sobering Centre on Sept. 3.
A 38-year-old man was pronounced dead after being transported to Stanton Territorial Hospital.
Following the incident, Health and Social Services Minister Julie Green expressed her condolences on Facebook, saying, “The department of HSS will investigate the circumstances of this death to understand what happened.”
The GNWT introduced new restrictions on indoor gatherings on Sept. 8 amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola said indoor gatherings would be limited to 25 people for 14 days.
Yellowknife’s homeless population was hit especially hard by this outbreak, with 19 homeless individuals and 10 shelter employees contracting the virus.
Schools closed because of Covid
Following an uptick of Covid-19 cases, all Yellowknife schools were closed to in-person learning for two weeks on Sept. 13. Due to the high volume of cases, Yellowknife Public Health was not able to conduct effective testing and contact tracing. All schools from JK-12, plus colleges and trade schools, were affected by the order.
No in-person voting for those in isolation
The Northern Territories Federation of Labour (NTFL), as well as some federal candidates and their representatives, criticized public health measures in the territory that would prevent those in isolation from casting their ballots.
“Voters who want to exercise their democratic right must be given every opportunity to do so,” NTFL president Nicole Tews stated.
Elections Canada’s officer for the Northwest Territories, Leanne Tait, said those in isolation had other options to cast their ballot, including mail-in ballots and an extra day of advance polling.
Liberals re-elected in NWT
Federal Liberal Party incumbent Michael McLeod won his third mandate in the Sept. 20 federal election.
McLeod faced a strong challenge from the NDP’s Kelvin Kotchilea, who won 32.3 per cent of the vote to McLeod’s 38.1.
In his victory speech, McLeod said that although a Liberal majority would have been preferable, the outcome was likely influenced by the pandemic.
Indoor gatherings limited, oxygen shortage at Stanton
In response to a spike in Covid-19 cases, the NWT’s public health authorities issued new health orders limiting gatherings across the North Slave Region to 10 people.
One Yellowknife business owner said the restrictions amounted to “actual insanity.”
Meanwhile, some surgeries had to be cancelled at Stanton Territorial Hospital on Sept. 21 due to the increased demand for oxygen. Surgeries resumed as usual on Sept. 22.
Petition for businesses to support shelter
Yellowknifers rallied to encourage local businesses to support the opening of a new day shelter.
A petition with more than 200 signatures was presented to the City’s Governance and Priorities Committee on Sept. 27. It called on the city’s business owners to “listen to the voices of the street-involved population, front-line workers, medical professionals and all concerned residents who are calling for the immediate establishment of a temporary day shelter.”