Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Did Saudi Arabia Just Threaten Another 9/11 Attack on Canada? Well, Kinda

There were 327 Saudi students at Mc Gill University last year.					Marie France Coallier  Montreal Gazette There were 327 Saudi students at Mc Gill University last year. Marie France Coallier Montreal Gazette
Leonard Rios | 07 August, 2018, 22:11

While Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Ottawa will wait to hear more details from Saudi Arabia before responding to the country's decision to freeze new trade deals and expel Canada's ambassador, she defended Canada's position, insisting Ottawa will always stand up for human rights.

"This Canadian stance represents an affront to the relations binding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Canada", said Mr Alzayani.

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.

Canada on Monday refused to back down in its defense of human rights after Saudi Arabia froze new trade and investment and expelled the Canadian ambassador in retaliation for Ottawa's call to free arrested Saudi civil society activists.

On Friday, the Canadian government sent out a tweet condemning the arrests of women's rights activists, including Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed dissident Raif Badawi.

Among the arrested is Samar Badawi, an award-winning women's-rights activist who sought to abolish the country's male-guardianship laws. Saudi Arabia's media ministry said it was investigating the incident.

Later, airline Saudia suspended all flights to and from Toronto and Riyadh said it will relocate the thousands of Saudi students studying in Canada.

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"The Embassy of Canada to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, continues its regular operations, including consular services", the statement added.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that at least 15 human rights defenders and women's rights activists critical of the Saudi government had been arrested or detained arbitrarily since 15 May.

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, and three children were granted Canadian citizenship earlier this summer, and live in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

Mr Alzayani criticised Canada's statements and unsubstantiated allegations that he said violate the worldwide diplomatic norms and represent a flagrant and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs and encroach on the United Nations charter, the Bahrain News Agency reported.

'Canada is easier to cut ties with than the rest, ' Bessma Momani, a professor at Canada's University of Waterloo, told AFP.

Saudi Arabian crude and equivalents accounted for just nine per cent of Canada's crude imports in 2016, according to figures from Natural Resources Canada.

Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, said it is hard to determine what the economic impact on Canada would be without specifics on which trade deals will be affected.

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