Norn says chiefs break Dene laws with resignation call

The chiefs of Ndilo and Dettah made an enemy when they called for the resignation of their MLA, Steve Norn.

The then-member for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh said Ernest Betsina and Ed Sangris had broken Dene laws and betrayed him by writing a letter to Premier Caroline Cochrane. He said neither chief had called to check on his welfare after he was diagnosed with Covid-19 in April.

The chiefs said Norn disregarded public health orders and called his behaviour — the violation of his self-isolation period with visits to the Legislative Assembly and a Yellowknife gym — reprehensible.

“We the chiefs and our members recommend that you ask for the resignation of this MLA,” Betsina and Sangris stated.

GNWT apologizes for health breach

Some people isolating in Yellowknife had their personal information compromised by the GNWT. The breach was revealed in a letter on April 22.

A government worker who emailed some of the people isolating and recommended that they be tested for Covid-19 also included some personal information visible to other recipients.

Covid Secretariat workers would be “directed to review the current procedures for emailing personal information and privacy best practices,” the territorial government assured.

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Here, he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on May 6. The Canadian Press/Bill Braden

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Here, he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on May 6. The Canadian Press/Bill Braden

Vaccines for teens

Riley Oldford, 16, would appear in the newspaper a number of times as of May 2021. That’s when he received the first Covid-19 dose administered to a minor in the Northwest Territories. Nearly 1,200 Pfizer vaccine doses arrived in Yellowknife May 4.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said May 6. Oldford had spent the previous year in complete lockdown. His cerebral palsy puts him at increased risk from a Covid-19 infection.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” mom Sharon Oldford said.

50 Street shelter investigated

The GNWT launched a probe into complaints about violence and mismanagement at the day shelter and sobering centre on 50 Street.

Staff complained of a toxic work environment where they are unnecessarily put in harm’s way.

“There are a lot of challenges with this (street-involved) population and it’s not going to get better until our political leaders step in and take responsibility and take charge,” said April Desjarlais, who owns a neighbouring building.

No hospitalizations caused by school outbreak

Everyone associated with N.J. Macpherson school — from parents to students to staff members — endured an ordeal as the school experienced a Covid-19 outbreak in the spring.

Most of the infected were children, but no one was hospitalized as a result. Public health officials reported 51 cases being associated with the outbreak as of May 10, more than 90 per cent were minors.

Flavour Trader bids farewell

Etienne Croteau said he tried to find somewhere to start a farm around Yellowknife for three years.

But in May, the chef was headed back to Quebec.

“I was not able to find land” to grow vegetables commercially, the owner of Flavour Trader said, adding the lack of agricultural subsidies available was a barrier.

“Yellowknife, Northwest Territories has to understand that a system of help has to be there,” he said. “It absolutely has to be there.”

RCMP Const. Andrew Moore holds an approved screening device used to test drivers’ breath for alcohol consumption during an impaired driving check stop on the Ingraham Trail, May 22. NNSL file photo

Covid-19 concerns keep some kids home

Yellowknife schools reopened to in-person learning May 17 (N.J. Macpherson, the epicentre of an outbreak, opened May 19), but not all the students were ready to return.

“I have nothing against the schools and they’re doing all the health protocols correctly,” one parent said. “But I have asthma. I’m immunocompromised and I don’t feel safe putting my kids out there and then possibly them bringing Covid-19 home.”

The parent said she understood remote learning was harder on teachers, but that she would be keeping her children home for the rest of the semester.

Norn removed as committee chair

Members of the Legislative Assembly were tight-lipped after voting to remove Steven Norn as chair of the Standing Committee on Accountability and Oversight.

It may have had something to do with the MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh being accused of violating his self-isolation order, but the meeting took place in-camera, behind closed doors.

The committee took the step “to ensure that its focus remains on keeping the government accountable as the territory navigates the ongoing pandemic, the flooding in the Deh Cho region and the work of the legislative assembly,” a spokesperson said.

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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