The Vancouver Canucks have parted company with the team’s anthem singer, Mark Donnelly, after he confirmed he will sing ‘O Canada’ this weekend at a downtown Vancouver rally to protest COVID-19 restrictions.
Shortly after Donnelly confirmed his plans, team owner Franceso Aquilini tweeted: “Hey @VancouverSun change the headline to ‘Former Canucks anthem singer.’ #wearamask.”
— Francesco Aquilini (@fr_aquilini) December 5, 2020
“I sing ‘O Canada’ as a sign of unity and strength for all Canadians,” he said to The Province. “The true north strong and free.”
The Vancouver Canucks organization distanced itself from the anthem singer in a statement released Friday afternoon.
“Mark Donnelly is acting independently and we hope the public understands he is not representing the Vancouver Canucks,” said COO Trent Carroll. “We encourage everyone to wear a mask and to follow the provincial health orders.”
Mark Donnelly called his dismissal from the club for participating in an anti-mask rally as a manifestation of censorship.
“I strongly doubt these draconian isolation protocols. What was originally touted as a 15-day squatting sprint for the common good has turned into a 10-month hell of a marathon, where the finish line is constantly shifting further and further. that our great national anthem is singing, I am simply opposing what I consider to be tyranny, that’s all.
Athletes, artists, politicians, and so on can advocate for anything as long as it’s in the mainstream. You can support riots, robberies, destruction, but if you rebel against the imposed agenda, then you are worthy of exile or worse. I thought the Canucks management would have the courage to uphold freedom of opinion and the right to express evidence-based positions for the good of the country, ”Donnelly said.
Donnelly may be best remembered for a famous blooper that occurred during one of his renditions of ‘O Canada’ back in 2014.
Donnelly, a practising Catholic, has taken more controversial gigs in the past as well. In 2012, he sang ‘O Canada’ at an anti-abortion rally on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
By Jon Sorensen