Justin Trudeau's government planned to thank China in a May 2020 tweet for a donation of PPE to Canada, but the social media post doesn't appear to have been sent out.
The tweet was planned in the days after the Foreign Affairs Minister was put on the spot for refusing to thank Taiwan for a similar donation of PPE.
“Heads up”: Global Affairs Intends to Thank China for PPE
On May 11, 2020 Christine O'Nions wrote to the PMO's communications director Cameron Ahmad:
Subject: Heads up: China donation of PPE
Just a heads-up that a Chinese donation of PPE medical supplies to the Canadian Red Cross is expected to arrive by air shipment at 22:45 tonight in Hamilton. GAC intends to issue a thank you tweet from mission. Apart from that tweet, PCO recommends a responsive approach in light of recent coverage about quality of PPE etc.
Minutes later, Ahmad forwarded the email to staffers Jordan Deagle, Chantal Gagnon, Andrew MacKendrick, Emily Trogen, Patrick Travers, Kathleen Davis, Rick Theis, Samantha Khalil, Ken MacKillop, Jean Tessier, Myriam Massabki, Ariane Boyer, Suzanne Kye, Valerie Samaan and Matt Stickney.
Feds Scared Off by Bad Press?
A few days before the above email exchange, then-Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was attacked by Conservative MP Ed Fast for abstaining from thanking Taiwan by name after the small nation donated PPE.
WATCH: Canada's foreign minister won't thank Taiwan for gift of masks!
The refusal to name Taiwan directly was contrasted with Champagne's March 28 tweet issuing a “thank you” directed at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa for a PPE donation supplied by the Bank of China.
Despite the email thread involving more than a dozen Trudeau staffers, no tweet from the Global Affairs Twitter account appears to have been issued thanking China for the May shipment of PPE.
Feds Hid Mask South Korea Mask Donation
Trudeau staffers also worried “about the optics” of praising a South Korean donation of 35,000 N-95 masks to veterans in May of last year because the gift — in commemoration of Canada's participation in the Korean War — was made at a time when the use of N-95 masks was only encouraged in medical settings.
Staffer Kathleen Davis — copied on the “Heads Up” email thread — suggested that Canada didn't “want to have unnecessary controversy” of flaunting the South Korean donation.
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