North

MLAs convening Tuesday to discuss member who may have breached COVID-19 isolation

An email sent to N.W.T. MLAs Thursday and obtained by CBC News says they will meet as a caucus Tuesday to discuss “specifically the situation regarding MLA [Steve] Norn,” who identified himself as COVID-19 positive and was later reported to have broken isolation.

Email from caucus chair says meeting organized ‘after requests from various members’

Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn will be a topic of discussion at a caucus meeting Tuesday, an email sent to members Thursday suggests. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)

Northwest Territories MLAs will meet Tuesday to discuss the case of an MLA who identified himself as a positive COVID-19 case and who was later reported to have broken isolation.

An email sent to MLAs Thursday by caucus chair and Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson, and obtained by CBC News, says members will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday "to discuss the recent COVID[-19] situation and more specifically the situation regarding MLA [Steve] Norn."

Norn, who represents the riding of Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh — encompassing the communities of Dettah, Ndilo,  Łutselk'e, and Fort Resolution — named himself last week as one of two positive COVID-19 cases identified April 23, and linked to a cluster of new cases in Yellowknife with more than 90 contacts between them.

Health officials subsequently warned of possible exposures at a Yellowknife Catholic school, a bonfire party and a local gym.

At the time, Norn said he chose to identify himself because of his "public role," but was later reported by Cabin Radio to have visited the Legislative Assembly one day before his mandatory isolation period had ended. CBC has not independently verified the report.

A few days later, Premier Caroline Cochrane told media "there are consequences" for breaking COVID-19 protocols.

She doubled down on those comments Tuesday morning, saying that "politicians are not allowed to break the law."

Premier's comments 'unusual', leak 'unfortunate': Norn

Reached by CBC Friday, Norn called those comments "unusual."

"I spoke to her a couple times," he said. "I don't know what she means by that, and maybe that's why, when we've got an opportunity to meet, there may be more to discuss."

Johnson's email says the meeting was scheduled after "requests from various members," but does not specify who. Johnson refused to comment when reached by CBC.

Responding to the email, Norn said it was "unfortunate … that we're still getting leaks in these forms."

He said he has yet to receive a response to questions on what the meeting is about.

Norn told CBC he is currently staying in an isolation hotel in Yellowknife after testing positive for COVID-19.

"I'm sitting here in the dark, I'm not at the [legislature]. I don't know what's going on."

In the meantime, Norn said he is "trying to continue just doing my job, and trying to be a dad.

"It's very difficult, in all this," he said. "I'm going to do my best, and just try to keep my mind busy."

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said Norn was in isolation as a result of having travelled. In fact, he is isolating because of his positive diagnosis for COVID-19.
    Apr 30, 2021 5:05 PM CT

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