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Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn charged under Public Health Act

Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn has been charged under the Northwest Territories public health act for failures to self-isolate. His first appearance is scheduled for June 15.

Norn set to make a first appearance on June 15, according to court records

Steve Norn, the MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, pictured in a file photo. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)

Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn has been charged under the Northwest Territories' Public Health Act.

According to the Territorial Court criminal docket, he's set to make a first appearance on June 15 for two alleged infractions on April 17.

Norn faces two charges for failing to isolate. 

Both charges were sworn by an officer of the COVID Secretariat on June 7. Previous fines under the Public Health Act for these kinds of violations have been $1,725. No fine was specified on either of Norn's charges, which means the officer felt specified fines were inappropriate.

"If this happens, the accused is required to attend to court, without the ability to pay [a] fine in advance," wrote COVID Secretariat communications manager Darren Campbell in an email. "They would need to speak to a judge and present their own information and the judge would then determine if the person is guilty. If deemed guilty, the court would decide on a fine of up to $10,000."

Campbell said the department could not comment specifically on Norn's case.

The allegations against Norn are not proven in court. CBC News attempted to reach Norn by phone and text message but did not immediately receive a response.

Norn has been at the centre of controversy since April, stemming from his decision to visit the legislature during a mandatory 14-day period of isolation following a trip to Alberta.

Before that was first reported by Cabin Radio, Norn had publicly identified himself and a family member as two of five COVID-19 cases in a Yellowknife cluster.

While public health officials have not connected that cluster to an outbreak in the city's schools, they did not rule out the connection, confirming that the first case at the city's N.J. Macpherson School came from exposure to a domestic traveller.

Norn was also removed as chair of the N.W.T. Legislature's standing committee on accountability and oversight in mid-May. He was replaced by longtime Frame Lake MLA Kevin O'Reilly.

CBC reported at the end of May that health officers had issued more than 50 tickets for a variety of infractions, including not following self-isolation plans and breaking rules limiting the size of gatherings. All but three of the tickets carry the same hefty fine of $1,725. 

With files from Walter Strong, Richard Gleeson and Liny Lamberink

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