Mark Donnelly lends his professional opera talent to pro-life rally after Canucks lose playoffs
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
Canucks anthem singer Mark Donnelly believes in the words of O Canada. The Holy Family Parish choir director and father of nine wants a better nation. That better nation would exist in a world without abortion.
Donnelly took a political stand and joined almost 100 pro-life activists and approximately 30 abortion supporters at the Vancouver Art Gallery May 29 for the launch of the "New Abortion Caravan" campaign sponsored by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR).
"I met Stephanie Gray (CCBR executive director) a few months ago and we discussed the possibility of singing at this event," Donnelly told The B.C. Catholic.
Donnelly was a late addition to the Caravan launch. The opera singer thought the Canucks would still be playing hockey in the playoffs and didn't want his personal interests to interfere and be a distraction to the team.
"I told Stephanie I didn't think I could do the event because my position with the Canucks is to do what I can to help them win."
But once the Canucks were, surprisingly, eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs in April, he took the opportunity to lend his support.
Donnelly said he puts a lot of thought into lending his name to causes. He said a few years ago he was approached by a political party to sing the anthem for them at an event. The party had views contrary to Donnelly's.
"I spoke with my wife about it and she said, 'Why do you sing the anthem?'
"I said, 'I sing for Canada,' and realized that the political party was just as Canadian as any other. We are all focused on making Canada a better place. So if we're all focused on making Canada better then we're all on the same side."
Donnelly said disagreements can be healthy in society. He used as an example one's favourite hockey team. This, he said, is a subjective choice that can't be resolved as an issue of truth. "Even if your team is the worst in the league it could still be your favourite hockey team."
But he said some issues are fact. "Two plus two is four; if someone thinks it's five they're wrong."
He said this fact applies to abortion. "We know the facts of abortion from a scientific standpoint."
Donnelly said life begins at conception; he used the analogy of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly to argue against the pro-abortion viewpoint that says a fetus is a clump of cells and nothing more. A caterpillar does not appear to be the same organism as a butterfly, yet eventually it proves that it is.
He said it is clear that the unborn must be defended, and hoped his presence at the "Caravan" event had been a step towards a discussion on abortion.
"I hope that because of today we have a stronger Canada tomorrow, and I hope that we can have discussions. Even if we disagree we should be able to leave with good will towards each other. If we don't we are both poorer for it and we're not a better Canada."