The people of Houston need all the help they can get.
And, yes, they will be receiving it from Quebec, contrary to initial reports.
Tuesday afternoon, Quebec Minister of International Relations, Christine St-Pierre, spoke with Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos to express her concern for Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and to offer equipment, electrical power crews, blankets, beds, pillows, and hygiene products.
However, Pablos declined, stating what Texas needed most now were “prayers from the people of Quebec.”
But Pablos denies this was a tacit refusal of Quebec’s assistance, though.
Confusion emerged last week when multiple media outlets reported that Pablos flat-out refused Quebec’s aid, provoking critical calls from across the U.S. and Canada.
Pablos’ press secretary, Sam Taylor, explained:
“[They were] telling us they were ashamed that we were declining aid from Canada. That wasn’t the case at all.”
According to piece in Salon on Friday, Ann-Clara Vaillancourt, a spokesperson for Pablos’ office, stated:
“Contrary to what has been reported in the media, Secretary Pablos did not decline the minister’s offer, but instead made sure Quebec made contact with the proper Texas state agency. The Quebec Government’s office in Houston is in constant contact with local authorities and is arranging for emergency supplies to be shipped shortly.”
Taylor elaborated by confirming that, yes, Pablos did ask for Quebec’s prayers, but informed St-Pierre that since he is not responsible for determining disaster response needs, St-Pierre needed to direct her overtures to the Department of Public Safety.
The two government officials spoke again Wednesday to further coordinate relief efforts and ascertain if St-Pierre’s office was aware of the reaction to her comments, which precipitated a third conversation.
“They confirmed to us that they had received the contact information that they needed in order to send that aid package.”
A spokesperson for St-Pierre confirmed this.
Quebec now will be sending to Texas 5,000 emergency hygiene kits, joining Mexico and Venezuela, despite the Trump administration’s harsh criticism of them.
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