N.L. pre­mier in­vites Trump to mu­si­cal

Sug­gests dis­cussing tar­iffs at ‘Come from Away’ view­ing

The Welland Tribune - - Canada & World - HOLLY MCKEN­ZIE-SUT­TER

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — New­found­land and Labrador’s pre­mier has in­vited Don­ald Trump to the hit Broad­way mu­si­cal “Come from Away,” say­ing he hopes “to dis­cuss the virtues of a pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship” with the U.S. pres­i­dent.

Dwight Ball’s let­ter to Trump, dated Tues­day, evokes the prov­ince’s his­toric re­la­tion­ship with the United States, on both trade and mil­i­tary bases.

“I just wanted to re­fresh and take the pres­i­dent back in time, and just re­mind his ad­min­is­tra­tion on how im­por­tant this re­li­able friend­ship and this busi­ness re­la­tion­ship is,” Ball said in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day.

“It’s just not a trans­ac­tion, this is about long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ships with our world’s largest trad­ing part­ner.”

Ball tweeted a copy of the let­ter Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

The in­vi­ta­tion is at the pres­i­dent’s leisure, at whichever city’s ver­sion of the mu­si­cal he prefers.

It notes the tick­ets “hope­fully are tar­iff-free.”

“Please ad­vise of your ac­cep­tance of this in­vi­ta­tion and I will for­ward you tick­ets,” he writes.

Ball told The Cana­dian Press he took is­sue with the pres­i­dent’s language treat­ing Canada as a se­cu­rity risk.

He sees “Come from Away” as an ex­am­ple of the long-stand­ing friend­ship be­tween Canada and the U.S., in more than just trade.

The mu­si­cal tells the true story of how Gan­der, N.L., wel­comed more than 7,000 stranded air­line pas­sen­gers af­ter 9/11.

“The re­la­tion­ships that were formed at that time still last to this day, and it’s re­ally just sym­bolic of the re­la­tion­ship that we’ve had for many, many years,” said Ball.

His let­ter de­scribes Trump’s re­cent poli­cies on tar­iffs as “ex­tremely trou­bling,” and says he hoped to dis­cuss “a pos­i­tive and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial trade re­la­tion­ship.”

Af­ter this month’s G7 sum­mit in Que­bec, Trump called Justin Trudeau “weak and dis­hon­est.” The pres­i­dent was ap­par­ently an­gered over the prime min­is­ter’s com­ments at a news con­fer­ence ob­ject­ing to Amer­i­can tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum.

Ball said his prov­ince has been af­fected by new U.S. tar­iffs, but the com­pa­nies haven’t had a chance to share their sto­ries. He was among eight Cana­dian pre­miers who vis­ited Wash­ing­ton in June 2017 to dis­cuss NAFTA ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Ball’s let­ter says New­found­land and Labrador be­lieves in the idea that “a ris­ing tide lifts all boats.”

Arts im­pre­sario David Mirvish first staged “Come from Away” in Toronto from De­cem­ber 2016 to Jan­uary 2017 be­fore it headed to Broad­way.

Mirvish has said the mu­si­cal’s suc­cess has “be­fud­dled all ex­pec­ta­tions” both in Toronto and on Broad­way, where its feel-good charm man­aged to win the hearts of jaded New York the­atre-go­ers as well as a Tony Award for best di­rec­tion.

Its sound­track has been nom­i­nated for a Grammy, and Cana­dian cre­ators Irene Sankoff and David Hein are hard at work on a script for a film adap­ta­tion.

Ball said Wed­nes­day he has not yet re­ceived a re­sponse, but he hopes Trump takes up his of­fer.

“I would love to be able to sit down and watch ‘Come From Away,’ ” said Ball.


New­found­land and Labrador Pre­mier Dwight Ball has in­vited U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to dis­cuss trade while they view a show­ing of a hit mu­si­cal that tells the story of how the town of Gan­der wel­comed 7,000 stranded air­line pas­sen­gers af­ter 9/11.

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