Now-former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation Rod Baker made the headlines back at the beginning of the year but not in a good way. The multi-millionaire gambling executive and his actress wife Ekaterina Baker managed to infuriate a whole town as the couple traveled to the remote town of Beaver Creek in an attempt to jump ahead of the vaccine queue.
Upon flying on a chartered aircraft, the couple then traveled to a local vaccination clinic and presented themselves as local staff members in order to get the immunization. Currently, the pair will each face two charges failure for self-isolation and failure to follow declaration. Each of the charges can be up to a CA$500 penalty plus six months jail time.
Five months after the vaccine-queue jumping scandal the town is still furious with the couple and resident demand they need to face jail time for their doing. Mr. and Ms. Baker are set to appear at court today on June 15, 2021, and they are expected to enter pleas to charges under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act. This will be the third hearing, and the couple is yet to make an appearance.
Carmen Hinson, who is the owner of Buckshot Betty’s Restaurant and Café, stated that people are still mad about the deception and that the fines will be almost insignificant considering Mr. Baker is a millionaire. Janet Vander Meer, Beaver Creek’s volunteer coordinator for the unprecedented situation, has also shared her discontent. Ms. Vander Meer said that as First Nation people the community has been abused for far too long, and the Baker’s have put the entire population at risk.
Ms. Vander Meer claims that she was told by a prosecutor that jail time has not been sought against Baker’s, which she believes to be discouraging. She promises to be at every hearing despite the several-hour drive from her home, as she wants prosecutors to know that the town has a representative during the trial.
Bessie Chassé, chief of the White River First Nation, believes that the justice system has to send out a message to the ones who plan to take advantage of smaller communities with limited resources. In his words, a fine without additional punishment would have almost no effect, as it will not be enough of a message to warn others who plan on doing a similar thing for the consequences.
At the time of his attempt to deceive Beaver Creek’s community and get a dose of the vaccine earlies in January, Mr. Baker was serving as CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Only a few days after the controversial news Mr. Baker has handed his resignation and he stepped down from the position with immediate effect. However, the corporation refused to comment on his departure.
Quite recently, the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation has been involved in yet another debate. This time former staff members of the company’s Nanaimo Casino have filed individual lawsuits against it for wrongful dismissal. According to the claim, several of the workers’ bonuses have been cut off and the gaming conglomerate did not ask for their consent to renew the lay-off period. Additionally, the company tried to force staff members to accept buyouts as severance pay.
Source: Rubin, Josh “Yukon town still fuming as ex-casino executive faces court appearance for crashing COVID clinic”, Toronto Star, June 14, 2021