Popular O Canada singer at hockey games in the Vancouver Canucks says he knew he could lose his job for defying what he describes as the “tyranny” of COVID-19 restrictions.
Mark Donnelly sang the anthem at a celebration called the Christmas Freedom Rally in Vancouver on Saturday, during which hundreds of people protested against restrictions imposed by a BC provincial health official.
Owner of Vancouver Canucks, Francesco Aquilini he tweeted at the end of Friday that Donnelly was now ex-Canucks singer, followed by the wearamask hashtag.
Donnelly told the crowd, many of whom were not wearing masks or physically distancing themselves, that he chose to sing because he was questioning the “draconian blocking protocols.”
“What was originally marketed as a 15-day sprint for the common good has turned into a 10-month hellish marathon in which the finish line is constantly pushed into the distance,” he said.
He said he did not think health officials would do a cost-benefit analysis looking at the harm from restrictions versus preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“As someone famous for singing our great national anthem, I stand against what I consider tyranny, plain and simple,” he said, applauding and cheering from the crowd.
Donnelly said his dismissal was an institution censorship that he has been following for 50 years and with which he has been publicly associated since 2001.
“Athletes, artists, politicians, etc. can represent anything as long as it supports the narrative. You can support riots, looting, destruction of livelihoods and reputation, but defy the narrative and you are worthy of exile or worse. ”
Donnelly said he had no direct contact with Aquilini or Canucks and had he not been with the team anymore, a phone call would have been more respectful to find out why he had participated in the rally.
He hoped the Canucks owner and management would “have the courage to foster freedom of expression.” [a] a science-based position that serves the greater good of the country, ‘he said.
“ Follow Provincial Health Orders ”
On Saturday, Canucks Chief Operating Officer Trent Carroll said in a statement that the organization hopes people will understand that Donnelly is not representing the team in his views.
“Mark Donnelly works independently,” the statement said.
“We encourage everyone to wear a mask and follow provincial health orders. They are on site to help everyone in British Columbia contain the spread of COVID-19 in our province. ”
After hearing speeches on Saturday at the Vancouver Art Gally, protesters took to the streets on the march.
Vancouver police spokeswoman Tania Visintin said police must exercise discretion over large groups of protesters who violate public health laws, saying that public safety was a priority.
She said mass arrests or ticket sales could exacerbate an already tense situation.
“This position does not automatically grant anyone any special privileges during a protest. The bottom line is that people who violate public health can get a mandate. Officers remain discreet in every situation that arises ”.
BC health official Dr. Bonnie Henry said last month that “there is no time for people who think wearing a mask somehow makes them sick or a sign of a lack of freedom.”
Instead, she said that wearing the mask meant respect for those who suffer together from the pandemic.