Rich couple took COVID vaccine meant for Indigenous: Charges

6 months ago 17
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Canadian couple charged with flying to rural, First Nations settlement and posing as residents to take vaccine.

Great Canadian Gaming CEO Rod Baker has resigned, the company said on Monday, after he and his wife were charged with travelling to a northern Canada settlement that is majority Indigenous and misleading authorities in order to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp, which first reported the incident, said Baker, 55, and his wife Ekaterina Baker, 32, had travelled from Vancouver to the Yukon territory and posed as local workers in the remote community of Beaver Creek in order to receive a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The Canadian census says in 2016, 85 of the 93 individuals who lived in the Beaver Creek settlement were Indigenous, part of the White River First Nation.

“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,” White River First Nation Chief Angela Demit wrote on Facebook.

Beaver Creek is found in northwestern Canada, where rural communities are being given priority for vaccinations, as government data shows they face higher rates of infection, the Yukon News reported.

Documents filed in the Yukon court registry show the pair were charged on Thursday with having failed to behave in a manner “consistent with (their) declaration”.

They also were charged with failing to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Yukon and each was fined 1,150 Canadian dollars ($905.12), according to the tickets.

Baker did not immediately return Reuters’s request for comment.

Great Canadian Gaming said in a statement it received the chief executive officer’s resignation on Sunday but offered no details, saying it did not comment on personnel matters.

Yukon’s Community Services Minister John Streicker said in a statement he was “outraged” and found it “disturbing that people would choose to put fellow Canadians at risk in this manner”.

A spokesman for the Yukon government said it would implement new requirements for proving residency in the territory.

Source

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Al Jazeera and News agencies

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