Nfld. & Labrador

Trudeau government spends $30K on Come From Away tickets

Canada spent almost $30,000 to purchase 600 theatre tickets for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take hundreds of people to see Come From Away in New York City.

$30K was spent on 600 theatre tickets to see Broadway show

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the audience before attending the Broadway musical Come From Away in New York City. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The government of Canada spent almost $30,000 to purchase 600 theatre tickets for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take hundreds of people to see Come From Away.

U.S. President Donald Trump's Daughter Ivanka Trump was one of the high-profile guests who saw the musical in New York shortly after it opened.

In a statement, the prime minister's press secretary Cameron Ahmad told CBC News that United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed and ambassadors "from almost every country represented at the UN" received tickets.

Canada is currently vying for one of the rotating seats on the United Nations security council.

The federal government paid about $50 a ticket, well below the going price for the show. Ahmad notes the tickets were at "a significant discount." In mid-April, CBC reported that the average price of a ticket was $127 US.

Those figures were released in response to a written question from Conservative MP Alex Nuttall.

"Expenses related to international outreach are an important part of advancing and protecting Canadian interests," said Ahmad.

Ivanka Trump greets patrons, as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, left, looks on before the start of Come From Away on Broadway back in March. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Come From Away tells the story of how the town of Gander welcomed thousands of stranded travellers during the 9/11 attacks. It has been selling out on Broadway, and is nominated for seven Tony Awards.

Other U.S. officials also attended the show, including UN ambassador Nikki Haley, along with municipal officials from New York and Philadelphia.

Canadian companies, law firms given tickets

The Canadian government gave eight tickets to Newfoundland volunteers, and to some local officials from the Newfoundland communities of Appleton and Gander.

Large Canadian companies were also invited to the show, including Hudson's Bay, Roots, BMO, Air Canada and WestJet.

Several big Canadian law firms — including McCarthy Tétrault and the firm of Blake, Cassels & Graydon — received tickets.

The prime minister and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau greet people from Gander, and other theatregoers, at the Broadway show.

While there was no official representation from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the governments of Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec all sent representatives.

Ahmad said tickets were also set aside for American media outlets "generating unprecedented coverage of the production and of our strong Canada-U.S. relationship."

The costs released don't include the price of flights, hotel stays or other travel costs incurred by the prime minister and other officials.

The Canadian musical set in Gander during 9/11 has been nominated for seven Tony Awards. (Matthew Murphy/The Canadian Press)