Chilliwack school trustee under fire for supporting former Canucks singer who performed at anti-mask rally
Published Sunday, December 6, 2020 1:39PM PST Last Updated Sunday, December 6, 2020 7:11PM PST
VANCOUVER -- Chilliwack school trustee Heather Maahs is under scrutiny for her apparent support of Mark Donnelly, the former Vancouver Canucks anthem singer who performed at Saturday’s anti-mask rally in Vancouver.
Donnelly sang the national anthem at Canucks games for two decades but appears to have been publicly fired over Twitter by the owner of the Canucks after word spread that he had agreed to perform at the anti-mask rally.
On Saturday, Maahs took to Twitter to question the firing, posting “Why would you politicize the singing of the national anthem? Donnelly is a patriot.”
Maahs, who says she is a conservative-leaning member of the Chilliwack school board, has come under fire previously for comments on climate change, school dress codes and SOGI programs.
“It is beyond irresponsible for an elected school trustee to make comments in support of anti-mask rallies,” Mooring wrote. “Especially in light of the fact this trustee has an obligation to ensure school mask policies (hallways, buses), are enforced.”
Maahs fired back on Sunday, accusing Mooring of mischaracterizing her stance.
“No, I’m not an anti-masker,” she said in an interview with CTV News Vancouver. “She mischaracterized what my intent was, in trying to make it about anti-masking and lockdowns. That is not where I was at all.”
“I was absolutely horrified at the manner in which Mr. Aquilini decided to publicly humiliate Mark Donnelly,” Maahs said. “This makes me sad that our society has gone so completely ‘coocoo’ in turning on such a nice man as Mr. Donnelly.”
But Mooring persisted in her disavowal of Maahs, and later tweeted that “even the appearance of support for those protesting or defying provincial health orders meant to curb the surging second wave of #COVID19 cases is reprehensible — especially coming from someone in a leadership role in the school system.”
Then, in an interview with CTV News Vancouver Mooring elaborated.
“I think it’s fair game for us to call into question her commitment to school safety during this time,” Mooring said in an interview with CTV.
Mooring points to current mask policies at B.C. schools where students and staff are required to wear masks in hallways, buses and other common areas.
“You call in question whether she is actually willing to do that work in enforcing those guidelines when she obviously holds attitudes in opposition to public health orders and position taken by public health authorities.”
During his performance, Donnelly, who Maahs characterized as a “nice man,” made several inaccurate and misleading claims about the pandemic. Specifically, he claimed that the government is “discussing mandatory vaccinations” and that social distancing and face masks are “ineffective, unnecessary and harmful.”
In actuality, public health officials have repeatedly said COVID-19 vaccination will be voluntary for Canadians. Furthermore, social distancing and mask-wearing has been shown to reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19, and top doctors have been advocating for these practices for months.