Rod Baker, the now-former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, made headlines at the beginning of the year, but not in a good manner.
When the multi-millionaire gambling executive and his actress wife Ekaterina Baker arrived to the remote town of Beaver Creek in an attempt to get ahead of the vaccine queue, they infuriated a whole town.
Following their flight on a chartered plane, the couple went to a local vaccination clinic and pretended to be local employees in order to receive the vaccinations. Currently, the pair will face two charges: failing to follow declaration and failure to self-isolation. Each of the charges can be up to a CA$500 penalty plus six months jail time.
The town is still furious with the couple five months after the vaccine-queue-jumping scandal, and residents are demanding that they face jail time for their actions. Mr. and Ms. Baker are scheduled to appear in court today, June 15, 2021, to enter pleas to charges brought against them under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act. This will be the third hearing, and the couple is yet to make an appearance.
People are still angry about the deception, according to Carmen Hinson, owner of Buckshot Betty’s Restaurant and Café, and the fines will be almost insignificant considering Mr. Baker is a millionaire. Beaver Creek’s volunteer coordinator for the unusual circumstance, Janet Vander Meer, has expressed her discontent as well. Ms. Vander Meer stated that the community has been abused for far too long as a First Nation people, and that the Bakers have put the entire population at risk.
Ms. Vander Meer claims she was told by a prosecutor that Baker has not been charged with any crimes, which she finds discouraging. Despite the several-hour drive from her home, she promises to attend every hearing because she wants prosecutors to know that the town is represented during the trial.
The justice system, according to Bessie Chassé, chief of the White River First Nation, must send a message to those who plan to take advantage of smaller communities with few resources. According to him, a fine without additional punishment would have little impact because it would not send a strong enough message to others who might consider doing the same thing.
Mr. Baker was the CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation at the time of his attempt to deceive Beaver Creek’s community and get a dose of the vaccine early in January. Mr. Baker handed his resignation only a few days after the controversial news and he stepped down from the position with immediate effect. The corporation, on the other hand, refused to comment on his departure.
The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation has recently been involved in yet another debate. Former employees of the company’s Nanaimo Casino have filed individual wrongful dismissal lawsuits against it this time. Several of the workers’ bonuses were allegedly cut off, and the gaming conglomerate did not seek their consent to extend the layoff period, according to the claim. Furthermore, the company attempted to force employees to accept buyouts as severance pay.