Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Canada affecting worldwide students in the Maritimes

Saudi Arabia Canada row
Saudi Arabia is halting all medical treatment programs in Canada according to reports

08 August, 2018

The clash between Saudi Arabia and Canada is intensifying and has provoked Saudi Airlines to suspend flights to and from Canada starting August 13.

"It's estimated to be about 100,000 (barrels per day), and that's down over the past two years", McTeague said of Saudi Arabia's oil exports to Canada.

The displaced Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who was given 24 hours to leave the country, has a lengthy diplomatic career.

Canada said it was "seriously concerned" by the escalation but vowed to continue to "stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world".

Momani called it, "getting tough on Canada", which she said other countries in the region might welcome if they view Canadian foreign policy to be led by human rights concerns.

Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar has been granted asylum by Canada, where she is raising their three children.

The European Commission said it's seeking clarification about the arrest of activists in Saudi Arabia.

Samar's brother, blogger Raif Badawi, was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for "insulting Islam" in a case that sparked an global outcry.

Chrystia Freeland
Chrystia Freeland expressed concern surrounding the detainment of women's rights activists

Following the diplomatic tensions flare-up between Saudi Arabia and Canada on Monday, Saudis went to social media to express their support for their courageous government.

All of which is to say that maybe the United States, 17 years after 9/11 and the missing 28 pages, should really, finally, reconsider its relationship to the repressive, Al Qaeda-dealing Saudi regime.

While Canada is one of the U.S.'s treaty allies and shares values like women's rights and free civil society, Saudi Arabia has traditionally been referred to as a "partner", given the close economic and security ties, despite differences on issues like freedom of expression and religion.

The news comes just weeks before thousands of Canadians are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. Saudi Arabia has said the arrests targeted people who sought to "destabilize the Kingdom" and were done by following the country's legal guidelines. Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs.

Saudi Arabia considers Canada's comments an interference in its affairs that require what it calls a "sharp response".

Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor and Middle East expert at the University of Ottawa, said Saudi irritation at the way the General Dynamics contract was handled also helped explain Riyadh's response.

In an emailed statement, the department said "we continue to encourage and welcome all worldwide students to come to Nova Scotia and attend our universities for their post-secondary education".

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