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Premier Sandy Silver

Couple should apologize to Beaver Creek residents: premier

A wealthy B.C. couple who received COVID-19 vaccinations last January in Beaver Creek owes the community an apology, Premier Sandy Silver said Wednesday.

By Whitehorse Star on June 17, 2021

A wealthy B.C. couple who received COVID-19 vaccinations last January in Beaver Creek owes the community an apology, Premier Sandy Silver said Wednesday.

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker failed to self-isolate after arriving in Whitehorse from B.C. They flew to Beaver Creek to get vaccinated.

During a Wednesday court proceeding in Whitehorse, they pleaded guilty to two counts each of breaching public safety measures.

They were both fined $500 on each count, amounting to total fines of $1,150 each when the $75 court surcharge is added on.

This is the maximum amount allowable under the Civil Emergency Measures Act.

The couple appeared in court by video.

“(Wednesday), Mr. and Mrs. Baker pleaded guilty to failing to self-isolate as required and failing to abide by their declarations made upon entry into the Yukon,” Silver said.

“The territory’s self-isolation requirements are in place to protect the health and safety of all Yukoners. Anyone who violates the self-isolation requirements puts all Yukoners at risk, and we take those actions very seriously.”

The Bakers’ choices, he pointed out, “put the people of Beaver Creek and White River First Nation citizens at risk, including some of the most vulnerable members of this isolated community.

“Yukoners are outraged by this selfish behaviour, and find it disturbing that people would choose to put fellow Canadians at risk in this manner,” Silver added.

“We acknowledge the Bakers have each donated a modest amount ($5,000) to the COVAX program, an international organization that works to ensure global access to COVID-19 vaccines,” the premier said.

“While this donation reflects remorse on the part of the Bakers, they have not yet directly apologized to the White River First Nation and the residents of Beaver Creek.

“The community of Beaver Creek feels violated by the actions of the Bakers. They have called for an apology, and they deserve one,” Silver concluded.

Defence lawyer Jennifer Cunningham said Wednesday the Bakers have faced the public embarrassment from all the national and international media coverage of their actions.

“The Bakers apologize unreservedly for their actions and for the impact on the community,” Cunningham said.

After the couple returned to Whitehorse from Beaver Creek on their chartered aircraft, officials caught up with the couple at the Whitehorse airport, where they were waiting for a return flight home.

Judge Mike Cozens described the Bakers’ actions as deliberate, cavalier and reckless.

Rod Baker resigned as president of Great Canadian Gaming shortly after their trip, and surrendered his seat on the company’s board of directors.

Before Wednesday’s plea and sentencing hearing, the White River First Nation (WRFN) said in a statement:

“The couple endangered the community of Beaver Creek, under false pretence, to get early vaccines. At the time of this callous and irresponsible behaviour, WRFN and members of the community sought justice and continues to seek a just punishment.

“The Bakers have not communicated directly with WRFN to make amends for the endangerment they subjected elders and vulnerable peoples to during their unsolicited entrance into the community; as well as their clear lack of respect for other people’s safety, other than their own.”

Chief Bessie Chassé said the Bakers “acted knowingly because they felt entitled to do so.

“The courts cannot let the fact that time has passed cloud the seriousness of their offence to our community and to the rest of the Yukon.

“We demand that the Yukon government and the courts not reward the Bakers for their self-centred actions. Issuing a fine to the entitled elite, without additional punishment, would have little to no effect. It would not send a sufficient message to others who may choose to behave in this fashion in the future.”

Janet Van Der Meer, a WRFN representative, read out a community impact statement at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.

She said the reaction in the community to the incident ran from shock to outrage.

“Many community members said they developed anxiety and had many sleepless nights after the incident,” she said.

Comments (19)

Up 47 Down 10

Oya on Jun 20, 2021 at 8:41 am

More pandering to FN voters from the Liberals.
Who gives a flying f*** about an apology? They paid their dues; move on!
Nothing to see here, folks, except... a desperate Premier.

Up 7 Down 58

TheHammer on Jun 18, 2021 at 10:08 pm

I agree they should apologize. The First Nation community is an extended family, they are not a collection of strangers. Alienated nomadic drifters should not be allowed to cross social boundaries without thought or consideration for cultural norms. Hospitality should not be abused, it would lose its sacrosanct significance.

Up 23 Down 16

Wilf Carter on Jun 18, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Your government let them because you had no system in place to stop them from coming in. Same as your new medical program will force doctors and nurses to leave the Yukon.

Up 38 Down 16

Get Over It Yukon Whiners on Jun 18, 2021 at 10:59 am

To Kathy. You talk about the ‘entitled’ but the real entitled are the whiners in Yukon who got pushed to the head of the vaccine line just because of where they happen to live by the goodwill shown to them by southern Canadians and the international countries and companies who created and made this vaccine. The real entitled here starts with every person who lives north of 60 in this country and their incessant whining all while latched onto the tit of southern Canadians tax money for their every want.

Up 30 Down 10

Simon on Jun 18, 2021 at 10:19 am

Apologizing is weak.
He paid, resigned and move on.
Everytime someone will Google their name this will come off.
For what.
A vaccine? I would gladly give mine to the rich. Free of charge.

Up 30 Down 13

Tired of this crying over spilt milk on Jun 18, 2021 at 9:31 am

It's over. There is vaccines sitting around not getting used so why beat this dead horse? The vaccine side effects including death will be punishment enough anyway.

Up 40 Down 12

Allan Stanley on Jun 18, 2021 at 9:08 am

I have far less disdain for people who cheat the system to GET VACCINATED
than I do for those who refuse to get a FREE vaccine.

Up 46 Down 3

Al on Jun 18, 2021 at 7:47 am

OK, let's stop with all the drama and hand wringing. This is not exactly the crime of the century, or even the year. Time to move on to more important items...

Good grief.

Up 22 Down 6

Nathan Living on Jun 18, 2021 at 12:15 am

Yah, an apology may be nice. White River sure was upset at the Yukon Party member which I thought went too far.

Up 8 Down 38

Observer on Jun 17, 2021 at 8:23 pm

Bud when are the neo cons going to get over the last territorial election? You did not get enough seats. Rules say the last governing party gets first crack at forming government in the event we are in a minority situation. It has been that way for as long as I can remember.
Even if the cons were given a shot at forming government, I strongly suspect that hell would freeze over before she would have supported the so call yukon party. So get over it, life is short, move on.

Up 36 Down 5

Guncache on Jun 17, 2021 at 7:38 pm

An apology!!!!!! Seriously? What does an apology do? They have paid the fine. The government has spent more money on this than the income from the fines. Give it up Silver. Maybe ask Kate what you should do

Up 34 Down 2

Count Me Out on Jun 17, 2021 at 6:57 pm

Should the rest of us get apologies from the grads who had their parties apparently without following restrictions, for putting us all "at risk" and jeopardizing the "Great Yukon Summer"? No? Then go on with your attempt to manipulate an apology from people you have low stakes with to keep the drama going.

Up 34 Down 3

George on Jun 17, 2021 at 5:46 pm

Ummm, no Sandy, not all Yukoners are outraged by this behaviour. Why do you keep making things up?

Up 38 Down 2

marylaker on Jun 17, 2021 at 5:41 pm

(I posted this in the last article about the Bakers. The one where the judge said they expressed a lot of remorse.)

Yes, they acted entitled and selfish, but I think we can drop the drama at this point. They did not spread any disease to anyone, they paid their debt to society, they donated $10,000 above and beyond to provide vaccines to those in need, he lost his 5 million dollar a year job, they have been the subject of international ridicule.

I hope that is enough for everyone out for blood.
I am still curious about why they did it. I guess there was no reason other than the obvious: that they wanted to jump the cue and get their own vaccines right away, and they figured they had the money to make that happen.

Up 30 Down 9

Mike on Jun 17, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Wow - a lot of people laying down the white thing in these comments. Wealthy couples if they were black would we be saying black or worse I think the fact they got fined and donated money is more than enough. I wait with extreme prejudice to hear the sentences of the locals who on numerous occasions violated the self isolating rule, got fined and given a court date. Let's hear the public outcry then as for a couple of successful business people coming up and getting the vaccine. Was it wrong? Yes. Was it planned? Yes. Have they paid ten times more than anyone else? Yes. Get over it and move on. Silver owes a bigger apology as does our countries fearless leader who decided to ignore all travel restrictions and fly straight home. Nice to see the liberals are consistent and all believe they are above all others.

Up 86 Down 6

Holy F@%k on Jun 17, 2021 at 5:05 pm

Ffs people, move on already!

Up 24 Down 50

Kathy Postill on Jun 17, 2021 at 3:24 pm

So the entitled get away with what ever they want AGAIN ....this makes me so very sad. The White River First Nation, people of Beaver Creek and of the Yukon deserve far more than this "slap on the wrist". The fines may be the maximum allowable, but why was no jail time added? This penalty does nothing to say there are consequences for actions .....frustrated Yukon citizen

Up 60 Down 18

Bud McGee on Jun 17, 2021 at 3:11 pm

Premier Silver should apologize to all Yukoners for his lackluster leadership over the past years that resulted in Kate White and her crew having veto power over the Yukon economy.

As for the Bakers, I wouldn't hold your breath for that apology. They're probably on a yacht in Howe Sound sipping the bubbly right now.

Up 17 Down 49

Politico on Jun 17, 2021 at 2:47 pm

Good luck with that. Rich white privilege just shifted into high gear!!

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