Francesco Aquilini had no alternative but to sever Canucks' ties to singer Mark Donnelly

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      In the business world, it's important to protect your brand. And when one of your contractors goes rogue—threatening to alienate paying customers—it sometimes requires dramatic action.

      This probably crossed Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini's mind after he learned that the man who's been singing the national anthem at Rogers Place for 20 years, Mark Donnelly, planned  to belt out "O Canada" at an event attended by selfish antimaskers.

      These people want to put their "liberty" to infect their neighbours ahead of the lives of seniors, health-care workers, cancer survivors, and people living with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and other serious medical conditions.

      There have been 492 deaths in British Columbia from COVID-19. That exceeds the passenger capacity on a Boeing 747-8 intercontinental jumbo jet.

      There's no doubt that Donnelly's action was going to alienate some Canucks season ticket holders and possibly even patrons of other Aquilini Investment Group businesses.

      As major supporters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Canuck Place, Aquilini family members would have had a lot of explaining to do to people involved in these causes if they were seen to be supporting the antimask movement in any way. That's to say nothing of the Aquilinis' ties to First Nations councils that are desperately trying to keep COVID-19 out of their communities.

      So Aquilini fired Donnelly over Twitter.

      While it's tempting for the media to create some sort of David versus Goliath tale, let's not turn Donnelly into a martyr. He chose to entertain people who are threatening the lives of British Columbians, including those living and working in the downtown core.

      Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has called them "idiots". The MP for Vancouver Centre, Dr. Hedy Fry, has called them "walking public health hazards".

      Some of them come into downtown Vancouver from quite far outside the city—and we don't know if they're importing COVID-19 into this high-density region. That's because people who are asymptomatic can transmit the disease.

      We, the residents of Vancouver, are sick and tired of these antimaskers descending on our city, sometimes by ferry, to demonstrate their ignorance at our peril.

      Dr. Bonnie Henry is telling us to stay close to home. They won't listen.

      So Aquilini sent a message that was heard across the country. Bravo. Enough of the stupidity.

      Video: #MaskUp