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Update to this story: On Friday morning, Mike Harrison called from Hay River after making it through the border checkpoint. He said he was intending to drive on to his cabin residence at Lindburg Landing – about a 470-kilometre drive – without going through quarantine.

The brunt of the story is I am breaking the law somewhat except … they will have a hard time making those charges stick and it would be funny if it goes to the courts,” he said. 

In all practical sense I am violating the legislation and so I’m making that independent decision and I’m arguing that if it goes to litigation, I will plead not guilty and my defense will be that they didn’t assess me individually based on my particular situation. Instead they lumped me into a policy that services people living in communities and they’re putting me at risk.

The Chief Public Health Officer responded with a statement on Saturday morning denouncing Harrison’s decision.

Related coverage:

Notes from the trail: GNWT contradicted itself with shaming of ‘Pike’ Mike Harrison

COVID-19: Chief Public Health Officer denounces returning resident’s border defiance

Second COVID-19 case confirmed in Northwest Territories

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“Pike” Mike Harrison, star of reality television show Ice Lake Rebels, is learning how uncompromising the territorial government is when it comes to its self-isolation directives aimed at returning NWT residents.

“Pike” Mike Harrison travelling across the Liard River on the B.C. side of the border in 2016. The Ice Lake Rebels reality television star was forced to turn back this week after being unable to cross into the NWT due to the Highway 7 closure at the border. photo courtesy of Mike Harrision

Harrison is a homesteader and has a territorial land-lease in a cabin at the very small settlement of Lindberg Landing in the southern Dehcho region near Blackstone Territorial Park, about 150 km from the B.C. border on Highway 7.

The community is about 300 km from Fort Nelson, B.C. across the NWT border – a normal access point for Harrison when he is trying to get back home. According to Google Maps, this is roughly a four hour and 21 minute road trip.

Pike Mike Harrison of Ice Lake Rebels fame has been trying to get across the NWT border from Fort Nelson this week to self-isolate in his remote cabin at Lindberg Landing. Because the GNWT has blocked the entry point, he says he is being forced to make a longer trip around to Highway 1 and Hay River to quarantine.
photo screenshot sourced from Google Maps

Harrison has spent the last several weeks travelling on Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island on the west coast of B.C.

“When I saw Premier Caroline Cochrane declaring a public health emergency and closing the borders, I was making arrangements to come home back to my residence ” he said. “So I decided to drive.”

At the time of Cochrane’s announcement, Harrison said he was staying in isolation at St. Mary’s Resort on Salt Spring Island and was practising social distancing on his own – staying out of restaurants and avoiding eating out, while confining himself to his own private suite.

On March 24, travelling in his 2002 Fort Escape, he jumped on a ferry and drove to Quesnel before arriving in Fort Nelson at about 9 p.m. It was there at his hotel that he found out he could not move across the border to his remote cabin to self-isolate. The border crossing at Highway 7 was closed at 5 p.m.

“There were no notices or anything and boom I can’t drive across the border back to my residence where I can be isolated. My remote residence.”

Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public medical officer for the Northwest Territories said on March 21 that all NWT residents returning to the territory have to self-isolate for 14 days and provide information as to where they have been as well as names and addresses. The Highway 7 order came a few days later.

The GNWT COVID-19 website explicitly states that:

“Anyone arriving in the NWT must self-isolate and stay at home for 14 days in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River or Fort Smith only. No NWT resident is allowed to self-isolate in a small community or other regional centre other than the four listed communities if they have returned from outside the NWT.

“This is a measure to avoid overwhelming health centres in small remote communities, and ensure those exposed to COVID-19 are close a well-equipped hospital care.”

Because Harrison was still in Fort Nelson when the deadline passed, he was in effect put in what he calls a ‘COVID predicament’ and expected to make a long, 12-hour road trip from to Fort St. John and then into Alberta and up north toward Highway 1 and Hay River. It is the closest of the four options for self-isolation which are even further away.

Pike Mike Harrison may have to make a lengthier alternate route into the NWT from his location at Fort Nelson.
photo screenshot sourced from Google Maps

Harrison, who is 60-years-old, said having to make the trip would likely mean being in contact with other people due to the need to make stops for food and fuel.

“I have to go into quarantine at Hay River and in order to get to that quarantine I have been put at risk by this exceptional road trip I have to make,” he said in frustration.

“I can prove that what (the GNWT is) asking me to do is increasing the chance of me transmitting it or me getting it. Instead of me just getting to the border, having someone say ‘this guy is a resident, he is not going into a community, let him go to his spot where he is isolated.'”

Katrina Nokleby, minister for Infrastructure and Industry, Tourism and Investment, posted a photo of the blockade at Highway 7. “Pike” Mike Harrison was trying to get across the border to his remote residence at Lindberg Landing on the same day from Fort Nelson.

Harrison said he reached out to the office of Shane Thompson, his MLA, for assistance but wasn’t able to talk to him the morning of March 25.

“The next step for me? What would be great is that I would like to have a campaign that says ‘Pike Mike – Let him into Highway 7,'” he said about what he would do next. “I need to get my people on this and make a dozen phone calls, send a million emails, leap frog.

“It is stupid to make Pike Mike go and quarantine over here when you should just put him in his cabin down there. So maybe someone could meet me at the border and let me in.”

Harrison was one of several Northerners to appear in the reality television show Ice Lake Rebels, which depicted houseboat life in the capital on Yellowknife Bay. It aired for two seasons on Animal Planet from 2014 to 2016.

A request for comment on this story was submitted to MLA Thompson on March 25.

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Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University...

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  1. All these negative comments demonstrate the selfish, self centered attitudes of most urban residents. Mike did what he was asked by the guard at the border – go to the nearest self isolation point in the NWT & do his 14 day period before proceeding to his remote home.
    I hope he took advantage of the territorial govt. offer to provide accomodation & was not out of pocket.
    Politicians & do-gooders never look at individual cases as people are supposed to be sheep and not think for themselves even though they are doing as instructed!

  2. “The brunt of the story is I am breaking the law somewhat except … they will have a hard time making those charges stick and it would be funny if it goes to the courts,” he said.

    I really hope you choke on your own words. It would be funny to see that in court.

  3. Discovery has to cancel this idiots “FAKE” show, he’s a health threat and should be shipped back to where he came from and kept in cells until this is over!

  4. Enforce the quarantine order, who does he think he is to act so important. Really he puts everyone at risk. Even if he was a star of some important show it does not give him or anyone a pass on ignoring or bending the law; so go back to where you were and stay there until the situation improves and the changes are announced by the Medical expert. By the way, I would not watch that show now.

  5. Seriously bad attitude….
    Unabiding citizen without any guilt conscience of how you can affect the lives and health of NWT community..U are a “Dark Star”

  6. You are an absolute idiot!!! How dare you put people’s lives at risk because of your arrogance, which by the way knows no bounds! Grow the hell up!!!

  7. Mike you are an absolute idiot!!! How dare you put people’s lives at risk because you think you are invincible … I will make sure I tell everyone I see what an idiot you are!!! Unbelievable!!!

  8. Truly, Un-Canadian. I will make sure NEVER to watch this selfish SOB’s show, and hope otherCanadians will do the same. Apparently, Mike “Pike” is in a different fishing boat from the rest of us.

  9. Charge him, then immediately quarantine this irresponsible, selfish a–hole in a cell for 14 days. Pity the law enforcement people who have to deal with such fools.

  10. mike pike is not a star, except in his own mind. creeps like that feel the safety of the rest of us fall into the shadow of this ego. what do you expect from a guy who thinks pimping to a reality show is success?

  11. The entitled Pike Mike should have just stayed put in Salt Spring, but why not drive all over and possibly infect hundreds! Hopefully he’ll stay at home, but that’s doubtful!