Feds spent $29,391 on 'Come From Away' tickets for Ivanka Trump, diplomats
Published Friday, May 5, 2017 10:00PM EDT
Taxpayers spent nearly $30,000 for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take Ivanka Trump and a group of diplomats and business officials to a Broadway musical in March, CTV News has learned.
Global Affairs Canada bought 600 tickets for the hit Canadian show Come From Away at an event the department describes as “an important part of advancing and protecting Canadian interests.”
Come From Away recounts the days after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., when thousands of airline passengers were diverted to Newfoundland and Labrador and hosted by Canadian families.
The government says the musical is a “story about the strong and long-lasting U.S.-Canada friendship.”
The show was this week nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Trudeau’s night out in Manhattan with Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, came in the midst of an extended outreach effort by the Liberal government to the new US administration that began after the Nov. 8 election.
In addition to Ivanka Trump, Canada paid for Come From Away tickets for representatives to the United Nations from Kuwait, Turkmenistan, Serbia and Qatar, among other countries.
Former prime minister Jean Chretien, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley all attended.
The guest list also included officials from Canadian corporations with business interests in the U.S., including Air Canada, Hudson Bay Co., Roots Canada and the Bank of Montreal.
Some residents of Gander, N.L., who took in stranded airline passengers were invited to see the show and hear Trudeau speak before the opening curtain.
Canadian law firms Blake, Cassels & Graydon, and McCarthy Tetrault also received tickets. Representatives from The New Yorker magazine and CNN were invited, too.
The guest list and cost details were tabled in Parliament this week in response to an order paper question from Conservative MP Alex Nuttall.
The government paid US$22,436 for the tickets, or $29,391 Canadian, a price Global Affairs called “a significant discount.”
The documents tabled do not include the travel and accommodation costs of sending the Canadian group to New York, or the additional cost of the prime minister’s RCMP protective detail travelling with him.
Four tickets to Come From Away were shared by the RCMP and the U.S. Secret Service, which protects the president’s daughter.