Dear Editor,

It has been a year since I wrote a letter to the editor.

I love the North. I am far from perfect. I do not take pride in writing this letter, but I feel I must. I have written numerous drafts over the past couple of weeks, trying to articulate concerns and be as thoughtful as possible while staying true to what I believe.

I believe that within our daily tasks and our daily choices as human beings and Northerners, there is a very simple thought and approach to life. Either we truly care about others, or we don’t. Associated actions to this belief are self-explanatory.

Do you wear a mask or don’t you? Do you open the door for the person next to you or don’t you? Do you complete your 14 day isolation or don’t you?

Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn’s actions over the past few months have gone too far. They are simply self-serving and wrong. Mr. Norn should either resign or be ousted from our territorial Legislature.

A negative pattern has developed concerning Mr. Norn in my view. Here are some factors regarding that pattern:

A few months ago, he called his own personal press conference at our Territorial Legislature (while out of session), in order to publicly lambaste a defenseless person and to cast a net for more complainants against this person. Perception kills. This was completely unfair to the other party. Regardless if his message was justified, partly justified or not justified at all, the delivery of his message here was completely wrong and not conduct worthy of a leader

Within this same press conference, Mr. Norn described bullying tactics by this person. However, Mr. Norn is so blinded by his own ego that he cannot even see that he himself, was engaging in a bullying tactic through this particular press conference

He has the audacity to decide when he will answer and be accountable to the media, and when he won’t. He accesses the media when it benefits him however, he also avoids them at his convenience

He claimed transparency in coming out publicly regarding having contracted COVID-19 however, Mr. Norn knew very well that his identity was going to leak out anyway. He politically had to get ahead of it. What are the true motivating actions here?

He claimed transparency in coming out publicly regarding having contracted COVID-19 however, he taints this “transparent” press release/act with a past picture of him getting a vaccination. The irony and motivating actions are self-explanatory– safety of person and community with vaccinations vs breaching a 14 day isolation (one breached event that can be proven to date – Legislative Assembly)

Questions to Mr. Norn:

Where are the examples of your remorse in comparison to the amount of energy and effort of speaking for your own personal benefit?

Where is the honour and respect for our Territorial Legislature and it’s traditions – personal presser out of session?

Where is the honour and respect to your fellow Territorial Legislature MLA colleagues – personal presser out of session?

What values do you believe are important in our NWT leaders and how do you live them?

Where is your compassion and kindness for the rest of us in this Territory, by breaching your isolation? What respect have you shown us by doing this?

What are you telling us as a leader, within the act of breaching your isolation?

Where is your true level of understanding and compassion in your actions to date, concerning how this breach has negatively impacted other people’s lives and what they all are feeling and going through because of it?

What would you have said and be saying right now, if it was a different MLA that had breached their 14 day isolation and had conducted themselves in this manner?

Comments:

We must treat others like we would want to be treated ourselves;

There is a great imbalance between the amount of time invested in defensiveness and self-promotion vs remorse and concern for the people that have been negatively impacted by your actions;

People have lost incomes;

People have increased anxiety;

People have increased financial stresses;

Health professionals are working their butts off and sacrificing their personal lives right now;

Businesses are going backwards financially again;

Businesses have been in survival mode for the past 14 months. We have had to dig ourselves out of some pretty big holes through this pandemic in order to take care of our teams and our team’s families.

In an unpublicized event before the NJ MacPherson School COVID-19 incident and fallout, our business and team was/is negatively impacted with a staff member going into isolation for 14 days resulting from Mr. Norn’s actions. Our business has honoured, invested and paid for staff members to isolate for 14 days. We continue to absorb all costs to isolation protocol to help protect our NWT family. Our business is not special in comparison to others. Many other businesses across the North have honoured this isolation period and done so to protect our NWT family, as well.

How has the NWT’s COVID-19 track record been for the past 14 months? What is the different variable here?

We have been blessed with our Health Care team over the past 14 months, and blessed with the vacation we have had in the NWT in comparison to the COVID-19 chaos South of 60

In summary Mr. Norn:

You chose to run for public office,

You signed a code of conduct,

You made conscious choices and decisions within your MLA tenure,

You must now be held accountable for your actions, just as you have demanded of others in the past.

I applaud Chief Edward Sangris and Chief Ernest Betsina for their courage in requesting Mr. Norn’s resignation.

I look forward to a full detailed investigation into Mr. Norn’s actions and the ramifications of his actions on our Northern family.

Trevor Kasteel

President, Kasteel Construction and Coatings

Yellowknife

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  1. Well stated Treavor. In the business world this outcome would be history. Political leaders, do your job and end this nonsense. After all, you are elected to stand up and support the people of the NWT.

  2. Very WELL written and said Trevor. Thank you. Regardless of how little or much Mr. Norn violated the rules, the fact is, HE VIOLATED THEM!! If it was anyone else, they would be fined, ticketed and or worse, fired from their job and likley community shamed too…we are all at high levels of COVID FATIGUE …his personal reasons for travel should not be above the laws…unless he was down there directly himself having medical treatment done, he should NOT have been traveling PERIOD! Our relatively safe BUBBLE up here in the NWT is now gone because of his actions and the actions of anyone who traveled with him. He needs to be ousted or resign! HE HAS LOST all respect now in the NWT and those who support him, should be embarrassed to do so!

  3. Posted on his MLA FB page

    Mr Norn
    I am a Veteran that served for 25 years in the CF.
    Your lack of decency to follow simple rules is appalling. Because of you and whoever travel with you at least 1000 people are quarantined, business are shut and some people that were already struggling financially will feel it even more.
    We know the hospital only have a few ventilators, I guess your personal business was/is more important that your constituents.
    Contact tracing will not find all the people that might have been infected. Some people that just starting working again and slowly get out of their financial burden from the pandemic might chose not to isolate
    It only takes one asymptomatic person to start the fire again.
    Surely you are not suffering financially as you probably still getting paid.

    I sure hope you sleep well at night as many kids and parents now have to get the very uncomfortable Covid test waiting for the result and having more unneeded stress in their lives.

    I guess leadership does not come easy to everyone.

    I am hoping that you are responsible enough to deliver a heartfelt apology for all the unexpected chaos, based on the chain of events, you have brought in Yellowknife.

    Of course we will never know how it really occur as the GNWT government is more geared at CYA that telling the truth.

    Lastly, who is paying for your hotel stay, if you are properly isolating right now.

    Can only assume that the GNWT is paying for it as they have been dodging the answer to this question.

    On that note, I wish you well and hope you learned a valuable life lesson.

  4. Mr. Kasteel has put into print the ripple effect of the transgressions of Mr. Norn and members of his family by their carelessness and apparent sense of entitlement. The impact on the small business community with a number of their staff having to “isolate” for 14 days awaiting results of possible exposure to COVID is mind-boggling. The Cabinet, the Premier along with other Assembly members are to have “closed-door “discussions”, to allow for “frank and open dialogue”. The outcome could be a recommendation to pass this off to another Assembly body such as the Ethics Committee. That way, time passes, summer break kicks in and the issue is allowed to settle. It is hoped the Assembly and Premier recall their punishment levelled at Nokleby for what was deemed her inappropriate behaviour and cursing at people causing discomfort to some bureaucrats and members. Norn’s poor judgement and willful disregard of COVID safety and health guidelines have led to broad public discomfort – and actual financial loss. May this point not get lost in those closed-door caucus discussions – the “frank” ones and the “political” ones.

  5. I agree with this letter. Mr.Norn ‘s word is no good .He is a liar and he has no honor. Do all of us a favor and resign.

  6. Very well written. The same thoughts and actions ought to be applied to all politicians across Canada. Enough is enough.

  7. Well written Trevor Norman you demand compensation and public apologies for wrong
    doings of past governments
    towards the aboriginals . What about your public apology and compensation for all those that are now suffering from your actions?

  8. Very Well said Trevor and to the point.
    I’m embarrassed for Steve Norn as he should be embarrassed and not worthy of that seat.

  9. Mr. Norn is an embarrassment at the very least and his actions and consequences verging on criminal. Trevor is to too kind and shows tremendous restraint. It is nowhere nearly enough for him to resign. His actions have had serious economic and health consequences for Yellowknife. Nothing short of a jail sentence would be suitable in this case

  10. Well said and representative of many people’s opinions. We had the most amazing safe bubble, I am embarrassed for Steve Norn, unfortunately he is not.

  11. I’d also like to know what Mr. Norn was doing in Alberta. Family emergency? What could have been so important that he felt justified in breaking Alberta’s Covid restrictions? If you don’t live in the Alberta household, you don’t belong there. I live in Alberta. My 95 year old father-in-law contracted Covid but we couldn’t see him and assist but Mr. Norn feels his emergencies are more important than ours? What privilege.