There was a political power-crowd including U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump businesswomen, cabinet members and scores of foreign countries’ ambassadors to the United Nations attended a Broadway play about Canada’s assistance to Americans after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The crowd delivered a standing ovation as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced the play with a short speech — he began with some jokes about the unusually wintry New York weather and concluded with a more serious point about neighbourly relations.
The new musical, which opened on March 12, celebrates Canada’s compassion for international travellers stranded in the country after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, when all U.S. flights were grounded. It tells the story of how residents of the small Newfoundland town Gander opened their hearts and homes to 7,000 people from around the world.
There were cheers later when Trudeau referred to the Canada-U.S. bond: “There is no relationship quite like the friendship between Canada and the United States … Our friends are there for those tough times …”
Ivanka Trump chatted with people who came up to her seat in the middle of the hall to get their picture taken. She also exchanged words with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her father’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.
Despite a difference in opinion and policy the two countries have on refugees and immigrants, Trudeau reiterated the significance of Canada having a strong connection with its neighbour to the south.
“We’re always going to have differences of approaches on certain issues, but the fundamental hopes for the future, the responsibilities of keeping people safe, and building a better future for the kids is something that we can always agree to,” Trudeau told CBC News, after the show.
Trudeau greeted Ivanka Trump after the show was over.
Asked about her attendance, Trudeau said, “Oh she enjoyed it. As did everyone in the theatre.”
In February, Trudeau had a roundabout meeting with Ivanka at the White House when they created a women’s business group, the United States Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs. During the meeting, Ivanka spoke of hoping to collaborate with task force members on confronting the challenges facing women in the workforce today.
The husband-and-wife team of Hein and Sankoff, who lived in New York during 9/11, wrote Come From Away after interviewing people in Gander at the 10th anniversary marking the fall of the Twin Towers.