The former head of a Canadian casino company and his actress wife chartered a private plane to Beaver Creek, a community of 100 in Canada’s Yukon territory, to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Rodney Baker, 55, and Ekaterina Baker, 32, flew from their home in Vancouver and allegedly posed as local motel workers to receive the Moderna vaccine, Yukon News reported. The coronavirus vaccine is meant for the isolated community including members of the White River First Nation which is at a higher risk because of their elderly population, WRFN Chief Angel Demit said, according to The Guardian.
“We are deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our Elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes,” she said.
The couple was ticketed and charged in Whitehorse airport on Jan. 21 fined $500 plus a $75 (CAD) surcharge for two charges: failing to quarantine and failing to follow their signed declaration. They each have to pay $1,150, Yukon News reported. They raised suspicions when they were at the clinic after the couple asked for a ride to the airport and the hotel confirmed they weren’t employees.
“Effectively what they did was they put our community and our isolation team at risk,” Yukon community services minister John Streicker told CBC News. “I’m pretty angry at the whole thing.”
Rodney was the head of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which runs racetracks and casinos across the country until he resigned on Sunday. Yukon News reported that in 2019 he made $10.6 million (CAD) while his wife Ekaterina had roles in the 2020 Christmas film Fatman and the 2020 comedy Chick Fight.
Just like in the U.S., Canada is administering vaccinations to frontline workers and at-risk individuals though some have been critical of Canada’s slower rate of vaccination. The Bakers’ actions, however, not only violated the rules but also put everyone’s health at risk that was exposed to them. It’s also indicative of their sense of privilege and entitlement that they would board a private plane to an indigenous community to get vaccinated as if they wouldn’t get caught.
“We implore all Canadians to respect the vaccination rollout process and to not take similar actions. While we understand many want to have a vaccination immediately, it is not appropriate to skirt the rules put in place and approach our community in this way. WRFN was selected for vaccines given our remoteness, elderly and high-risk population, as well as limited access to health care,” said Chief Demit said in a. statement. “We are deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our Elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes.”