Premier Caroline Cochrane defended the fact three senior government officials traveled outside the territory over the holidays despite her urging of residents not to do so.
“While all residents were encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel, travel outside the NWT is not restricted,” she said at a press conference on Tuesday. “It is recognized that there may be extenuating personal situations that lead residents, including public servants, to travel outside the territory. We understand and we respect their decision to do so.”
CBC North reported that Deputy Minister Bruce Cooper went to Newfoundland to spend time with family, who live there.
Additionally the head of the COVID-19 secretariat, Associate Deputy Minister Russell Neudorf, also traveled over the holidays. CBC North reported he traveled with his wife to a home they have in Kelowna, B.C., to be with their three university-aged children.
During the press conference, Cochrane was asked why she approved Neudorf’s travel as she is in charge of the COVID-19 secretariat. She responded by saying she would not go into the details of any of the officials’ travel.
Without naming anyone, Cochrane confirmed three senior officials traveled outside the NWT over the holidays — she did not name the third official.
Throughout the press conference, Cochrane repeatedly said she was unable to comment on the travels of senior officials because of existing “policies.” But she thanked everyone who followed self-isolation protocol upon returning.
She added, no member of cabinet has traveled outside the territory for the holidays.