Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Saudi-Canada row: What the sanctions are really about

Saudi-Canada row: What the sanctions are really about

'Canada will always stand up for human rights, in Canada and around the world, and women's rights are human rights, ' Freeland told an audience in Vancouver.

Saudi Arabia has been informing customers that it has temporarily scrapped penalties and fees on all upcoming direct flights to and from Toronto, adding it is working to find alternative solutions to the problems.

Saudi Arabia has ordered roughly 15,000 Saudis studying in Canada to leave.

"The normal diplomatic route would have been to call the ambassador in and to let him know your displeasure and then to try to move from there", MacKay, Canada's foreign affairs minister from 2006 to 2007 and defence minister from 2007 to 2013, said in an interview with BNN.

Last week, Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concerns over the arrests of seven Saudi civil society activists.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday that the US raises such issues privately with Saudi Arabia - and that it is up to the Saudis and Canadians to work this out, but she declined to condemn the activist's arrest.

Canada's economic relationship with Saudi Arabia is not particularly significant to Riyadh, unlike the United States or other Western partner governments, which experts say makes Ottawa an easier target.

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.

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

Additionally, on Monday it was announced that "training, scholarships and fellowships" for Saudi students in Canada are now being shelved.

The office of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland did not respond to requests for comment.

Saudi's foreign ministry called the statement "a major, unacceptable affront to the kingdom's laws and judicial process".

But is global criticism enough to improve human rights in the kingdom?

Ms Badawi's brother was arrested in 2012 for criticism of the regime, and was subjected to 50 lashings in 2015.

There could be a sentiment among allies that, "Finally the Trudeau government is getting poked back in the eye by the Saudis".

"We are waiting for Saudi Arabia to offer some more specifics on what they intend to do", Freeland said when asked about the arms deal.

"Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia".

It was posted on the Twitter account of Infographic KSA which, according its website, is a Saudi youth organization made up of volunteers interested in technology.

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