Couple accused of flying to Yukon for vaccine 'despicable': B.C. minister

Andrew Cummings
January 27, 2021

The pair reportedly arrived in Whitehorse on January 19 and failed to complete a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period upon arriving in the territory, instead flying to the rural community of Beaver Creek to receive the vaccine.

The allegations against them have not been proven in court and the tickets indicate the couple can challenge them.

Baker ran Great Canadian's flagship B.C. casino River Rock Casino and Resort during a time when money laundering is alleged to have grown exponentially. Violating the act results in a maximum penalty of a $500 fine per charge, six months' jail or both.

They were charged with breaking Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act, the outlet reported.

The CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation is stepping down after accusations he flew to the Yukon to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Rodney Baker and Ekaterina Baker could not be reached for comment and The Canadian Press could not independently confirm their identities, including that they are married and that Ekaterina is an actress. Rodney was raking in millions at the post; he apparently earned more than $10.6 million in 2019, the Washington Post reports.

"Our overriding focus as a company is doing everything we can to contribute to the containment of COVID-19", he said.

Home to a community of 100 people, Beaver Creek is approximately 450 miles from Whitehorse near the Alaska border.

To receive the vaccine, the Bakers allegedly lied to health officials in Beaver Creek, claiming to be new employees at a local motel, said Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker.

A spokesman for the Yukon government said it would implement new requirements for proving residency in the territory.

But Janet Vander Meer, the head of the White River First Nation's coronavirus response team, argues that the couple should be held accountable in a way that will deter other Canadians from trying to take advantage of the same loophole.

In his statement, Streicker said he was "outraged by this selfish behaviour", and that he finds it "disturbing that people would choose put fellow Canadians at risk in this manner".

She said the community "was selected for vaccines given our remoteness, elderly and high-risk population, as well as limited access to health care".

"I can't believe I've ever seen or heard of such a despicable, disgusting sense of entitlement and lack of a moral compass", Mike Farnworth, the British Columbia solicitor general, said on Monday, the Vancouver Sun reports.

It said Terrance Doyle, president of strategic growth and chief compliance officer, has been appointed as interim chief executive.

The casino firm recently agreed to a CA$2.5 billion (US$2 billion) takeover from Apollo Global Management Inc., whose offer was approved by shareholders in December 2020.

Great Canadian shareholders voted to approval the deal late past year and the Supreme Court of British Columbia has also signed off on the investment fund's takeover offer.

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