Steve Norn’s attempt to resign Tuesday in the N.W.T. Legislature didn’t count, Speaker Fredrick Blake Jr. clarified at the start of Wednesday’s sitting.
The ruling makes Norn the first MLA to lose his seat at the hands of his colleagues in the Northwest Territories.
MLAs were considering a motion to have Norn stripped of his seat in accordance with the recommendations of the sole adjudicator’s report into whether he breached his code of conduct when he broke mandatory isolation and misled the public about it.
After a majority of MLAs indicated they would support the motion, Norn rose in the house to say he would resign.
After a short recess, Blake Jr. informed the house that the motion would have to proceed to a vote anyways.
The motion was passed, with all MLAs, except Norn, voting in favour.
A press release from the Legislative Assembly Wednesday said that Norn’s statements “lacked the clarity needed to give his resignation in full effect.”
Blake Jr. pointed to examples of former MLAs resigning in session as recently as last year when Jackson Lafferty stepped down as representative for Monfwi to run to become the next Tłı̨chǫ grand chief.
However, by the time Norn made his statement, Blake Jr. said that “debate on the motion was well underway.”
“Mr. Norn did not resign his seat from the Legislative Assembly yesterday, the Legislative Assembly ordered the seat declared vacant.”
Frieda Martselos, MLA for Thebacha, moved to expel Norn as MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh.
Members of the Legislative Assembly have the right to discipline members, up to and including expulsion, under the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, which was amended by the 18th assembly in 2016.
A by-election will be called for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, though the date on that has not been set.
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