Audio of Norn admitting breaking isolation played at hearing

Former judge Ronald Barclay (right) is the sole adjudicator in the hearing into a conduct complaint against MLA Steve Norn. Barclay is joined by his counsel Maurice Laprairie (left). (Screen capture)

An irritated Steve Norn attended the second day of the hearing into a complaint against him from his fellow MLAs.

After a day of lawyers arguing whether the hearing should continue, Ron Barclay, the sole adjudicator overseeing the process, decided to continue on Tuesday morning.

On Monday, it was revealed that Norn’s lawyer, Steven Cooper, sent 19 letters to Barclay over the summer to request the hearing be postponed. Cooper again tried to postpone by saying he did not have sufficient time given the volume of material to properly prepare for the hearing.

Cooper also suggested that the insistence on going ahead with the hearing on Oct. 4 was politically motivated because MLAs return to the Legislative Assembly next week.

In his decision, Barclay said if Cooper focused on reading evidence rather than request postponement, he would have had more time to prepare.

He added, “Mr. Cooper’s suggestion the date for this herding was selected and maintained to facilitate the schedule of the legislature and was politically motivated is frankly insulting, is without foundation, and is entirely false.”

At this, Norn interrupted: “Are you serious, Mr. Barclay? Seriously? Wow. Wow.” He added, “this is like a legal farce.”

‘I’ll own that’: recording

Following Barclay’s decision, the hearing went ahead with Ollie Williams of Cabin Radio as the first witness.

Williams testified that he had a “brief” conversation with Norn on April 23. Williams said at the time that Norn said he had followed all isolation protocols and that was reported.

During his testimony, Cooper asked Williams how long the conversation lasted. Williams said it lasted about five minutes. Soon after saying so, Williams interrupted the questioning to say Norn had written “Liar” in the virtual call chat.

This led to a break for Cooper to speak with Norn.

The second witness was Liny Lamberink, a journalist with CBC.

Following a conversation in early May, she reported that Norn admitted to breaking self-isolation rules.

During the hearing, Barclay heard a recording of Lamberink asking Norn if he broke his isolation.

“Yes, yes I did,” he can be heard saying. “I’ll wear that… I’ll own that.”

Cooper’s questioning of Lamberink was brief after Barclay said he could not ask questions around her training.

“There’s simply no point in asking any other questions given the limitations that the adjudicator has placed on my ability to cross examine,” said Cooper.

Video of Norn at Legislative Assembly

In the afternoon, Dennis Marchiori was brought in as a witness. He is the director of compliance and enforcement operations under the COVID-19 secretariat.

His testimony focused on the calculation of the 14-day isolation period. Barclay had to step in twice to understand exactly how the calculation was done.

Essentially, Marchiori said the count starts the day after a person arrives in the NWT.

During his testimony, Marchiori said Norn received a letter or email saying his isolation period went up to, and included, April 18.

Later in the day, Barclay saw a video of Norn entering the Legislative Assembly building on April 17. The video presented was low quality and it was hard to discern the individual.

Robert Braine, a security guard at the Legislative Assembly, testified that he allowed Norn into the building and followed him up to his office. Braine also said that Norn was wearing a mask at the time.

Security logs have Norn at the Legislative Assembly building from 2:47 p.m. to 2:51 p.m. on April 17.

The hearing will continue Wednesday.

Following the hearing, the adjudicator can make recommendations to the MLAs on whether to discipline Norn.

The recommendations can range from a fine to Norn being removed as an MLA.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com