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Politics

Norn accuses chiefs of ‘betrayal,’ won’t resign as MLA


Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn says he will not step down from his post after being urged to do so by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.

Norn’s breach of isolation last month, after contracting Covid-19, is to be investigated by the NWT’s integrity commissioner after other MLAs decided the incident warranted the filing of a complaint.

Earlier this week, the First Nation’s chiefs wrote to MLAs calling for his resignation over the matter. In a response reported by CBC and NNSL, Norn accused Chief Ernest Betsina and Chief Edward Sangris of an “act of betrayal.”

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Norn represents the Yellowknives Dene First Nation communities of Ndilǫ and Dettah in the territorial legislature. He also represents Fort Resolution and Łútsël K’é, which have been more supportive of the MLA. Chief Louis Balsillie of Fort Resolution’s Deninu Kue First Nation wrote a letter of his own stating Norn had been a good representative of his people and should stay.

Writing to Betsina and Sangris, Norn said the chiefs’ concerns were based on “rumour, innuendo, and sensational hack journalism.”

Norn did not respond to repeated requests for comment before Cabin Radio’s April 23 publication of a report stating he had broken isolation. Earlier that day, he publicly stated he had followed the NWT’s 14-day isolation rules after travel outside the territory.

He has not responded to multiple requests since. Reached briefly on Wednesday, he declined to comment.

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He did not supply his letter to the chiefs to Cabin Radio.

The CBC and NNSL quoted the letter as saying: “The politicization of my family and my own personal health is unbecoming and uncharacteristic of an Indigenous leader, let alone two leaders.

“Requesting my resignation through the Premier and not addressing me directly was insulting, degrading and goes against all our Dene laws and values.”

He was reported to have written that he “delayed commenting publicly on my personal health as I have been waiting on facts to ensure no further misinformation, gossip and hate is spread onto my family and myself.”

Neither Betsina nor Sangris could be reached for comment on Wednesday evening.

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