Steve Norn is to seek re-election as MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, NNSL and the CBC reported, having had his seat declared vacant by colleagues late in 2021.
Nothing in the NWT’s electoral legislation prevents Norn from seeking re-election despite being removed from the position in November. So far, Nadine Delorme is also a declared contender.
Nominations will be accepted by Elections NWT from January 10 to January 14. A list of confirmed candidates will be published shortly after nominations close at 2pm January 14.
The by-election will be the NWT’s first to be held by mail-in ballot only, an accommodation designed to preserve safety during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Norn, who unsuccessfully attempted to bar Cabin Radio from a news conference in November, did not answer his phone when called by Cabin Radio on Friday.
NNSL, which first reported his desire for re-election, and the CBC initially did not quote Norn. In later editions, he told both newsrooms he had experienced an “outpouring of support” since losing the role of MLA.
He told the CBC: “To my critics, I want to say that no matter which riding we’re in, it’s the electorate, the constituents, that will tell you if you’re worthy enough to be there or not. They’re the ones that make the ultimate decision. If the majority of constituents want you in there, then that’s the way it should be.”
Voters in the district’s four communities – Ndilǫ, Dettah, Fort Resolution, and Łútsël K’é – have until January 29, 2022 to register. Ballots must be received by 8pm on February 8.
In a unanimous 17-0 vote, MLAs in November voted to declare Norn’s seat vacant after most of them criticized what they called his “pattern of toxic behaviour” and his breaches of their code of conduct. The chiefs of Ndilǫ and Dettah had called for him to resign, though Deninu Kue Chief Louis Balsillie in Fort Resolution expressed support for Norn.
An independent adjudicator concluded Norn had broken the code of conduct by breaking Covid-19 self-isolation in April and subsequently misleading the public about his actions. On April 23 he told Cabin Radio he had isolated appropriately, but later that day was reported not to have done so, as was subsequently proven during an inquiry into his conduct.
Beyond his code breaches, MLAs described abuse of legislature staff and a series of threats issued by Norn, often suggesting he was “coming for them” if MLAs took actions of which he disapproved.
Norn was elected with 230 votes in 2019’s territorial election. Richard Edjericon received 130 votes, Lila Fraser Erasmus 117, Paul Betsina 103, and Delorme nine.