A Canadian couple who have expressed widespread criticism over the fact that they flew to a small indigenous community in January to be vaccinated, pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating local coronavirus restrictions, according to court statements.
The couple, Rodney and Ekaterina Baker of Vancouver, appeared in the Yukon Territorial Court and pleaded guilty to charges under the Civilian Emergency Measures Act issued during the pandemic, which required people to be segregated for 14 days after Yukon entered. .
While the bakers will not be jailed, they were each fined $ 1,000 plus a $ 150 surcharge, totaling $ 2,300 for the couple.
“Fortunately, nothing physical happened in this case, no one got Covid as a result,” Judge Michael Cozens said during the court proceedings. according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “There was damage, but no one caught Covid. It was definitely psychological. ”
The Bakers traveled about 1,200 miles[1,200 km]to Whitehorse, Yukon’s capital, on January 19. Two days later, the couple bypassed a flight to Beaver Creek, about 300 miles northwest of Whitehorse, posing as motel workers. in the area and received vaccinations. Later that day, the couple returned to Whitehorse, where authorities found them.
Within days, Mr. Baker, who was the CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which operates casinos and hotels across Canada, resigned from his post. Ms Baker is an actress.
Kelly McGill, who is pursuing the case as part of the Yukon legal services branch, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Beaver Creek, which is heavily dependent on traffic from the Alaska Highway, suffered economically amid travel restrictions during the pandemic. The community is a priority for vaccinations partly because of their distance, and shots were made available to adults of all ages. Yukon identity cards were not required.
The couple’s actions highlighted the complexity of a global vaccination of vaccines and the inequality in the distribution of vaccines, which is made all the more complicated by the excessively high rate of infection and death among poor people and coloreds. These problems were especially amid shortages of vaccines and distribution problems.
Jennifer Cunningham, the couple’s lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
John Streicker, Yukon’s community services minister, said at the time that he was “furious” about the couple’s “selfish behavior”.
Similarly, Angela Demit, the head of the White River First Nation, called the Bakers ‘privileged multimillionaires’.
“It is clear to me that because we are a predominantly indigenous community, they assumed we were naive,” she said. “A clear signal must be sent that this behavior is unacceptable.”
Eduardo Medina contribution made.