Wealthy Couple Fined After Flying to Remote Town to Take Covid Vaccines from Indigenous Elders
One wealthy couple from Vancouver, Canada, recently chartered a private plane to a very small town of 100 people pretending to be resident motel workers. Why? So that they could get the COVID-19 vaccine, receiving doses intended for vulnerable Indigenous elders.
The couple, Rodney Baker, a 55-year-old ex-CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which owns more than 20 casinos across Canada, and his 32-year-old wife Ekaterina Baker, a Russian actress, was immediately recognized as not being a part of the local community of Beaver Creek, which hosts only about 100 people, most of them members of the White River First Nation.
“I can’t believe I’ve ever seen or heard of such a despicable, disgusting sense of entitlement and lack of a moral compass,” said Mike Farnworth, the British Columbia solicitor general, said, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The Bakers are facing fines totaling the equivalent of about $900 for violating the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act, which states that travelers are required to quarantine themselves for a total of 14 days.
The suspicions were first raised after the who got their shots and they mistakenly were asking for a ride to the airport. “People were like, ‘Well, why would you be going to the airport?’” said Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
The White River First Nation is fighting for a bit more of a significant fine for the couple, as the relatively low fine seems “essentially meaningless” for such affluent folks. According to Investor, Baker earned more than $10.6 million in 2019, and his wife received credits for the 2020 films “Fatman” and “Chick Fight.”
“It’s clear to me that because we are a predominantly Indigenous community, that they assumed we were naive,” Chief Angela Demit said. In traveling to rural areas, Yukon health workers have been attempting to vaccinate as many people as possible. Due to the “remoteness, elderly and high-risk population, as well as limited access to health care,” Demit noted that Beaver Creek and the White River First Nation were considered a priority. (It’s worth noting that the nearest health clinic is more than three hours away with the closest major hospital almost five hours away.)
The Bakers are also facing possible jail time of up to six months for their actions. Allegedly, have up to a month to pay the fines or plead not guilty and go to trial. “Our oldest resident of Beaver Creek, who is 88 years old, was in the same room as this couple. My mom, who’s palliative, was in the same room as this couple,” sad Janet Vander Meer, the head of the White River First Nation’s coronavirus response team. “That’s got to be jail time. I can’t see anything less. For what our community has been through the last few days. The exhaustion. It’s just mind-boggling.”
It’s still unclear whether the two have retained an attorney or a lawyer.
What do you think of what this couple did? What do you think the consequence should be?