Saudi Arabia escalates punishment to Canada


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Alex Kliment, a CBSN contributor who writes for Signal, a newsletter from GZERO Media, told CBSN's Anne-Marie Green the diplomatic dispute may be part of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's push to create what Kliment called an "enlightened dictatorship" in what's considered one of the world's most conservative societies.

Also on Tuesday, the Middle Eastern country's state airline announced it was suspending operations in Canada.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat-buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley in its global tenders, European traders said on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Adel Aljubeir released a short statement on Twitter Monday saying that Canada was basing its assessment on "misleading information" and that Saudi Arabia "will not accept any attempt to interfere in its internal affairs".

According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian government's statistics agency, total Canadian wheat sales to Saudi Arabia excluding durum were 66,000 tonnes in 2017 and 68,250 tonnes in 2016.

Saudi Arabia's market closure comes on the heels of ongoing trade disputes in other key Canadian grain markets including Italy, Peru, Vietnam, and India as well as increased protectionist sentiments within the United States.

Freeland said Canadians "expect" its foreign policy to be driven by Canadian values.

If this hostility continues and Saudi Arabia chooses to cut off its oil supply to Canada, the East Coast might see an oil and gasoline shortage in the coming months.

St. Clair College said it has two students from Saudi Arabia, but they are not government-sponsored.

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Among the arrested is Samar Badawi, an award-winning women's-rights activist who sought to abolish the country's male guardianship laws.

Canada's relationship with Saudi Arabia has been cordial in the past, which has sometimes stoked controversy at home.

Amnesty International says the global community should form a united front with Canada and speak out to protect two recently arrested women, including the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

The Saudi government plans to move them immediately to other schools in countries like the USA and United Kingdom.

The Saudi government on Sunday recalled its ambassador from Ottawa, barred Canada's ambassador to Riyadh and placed a ban on new trade, denouncing Canada for urging the release of rights activists.

Roughly 10 per cent of the barley Canada exports is sent to Saudi Arabia.

In an earlier response to Freeland's tweet, the Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia issued a statement ordering Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak to leave the country within 24 hours. Last year, the kingdom also recalled its ambassador to Germany following a testy exchange with that country's foreign affairs minister over Saudi Arabia's military presence in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has apparently threatened a 9/11-style aircraft attack on Canada in an astonishing tweet.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also said on Monday that he rejects Canadian interference in "internal Saudi affairs". In 2015, Riyadh recalled its ambassador to Sweden and stopped issuing work visas for Swedes after the European Union member country's foreign minister described the Badawi court decision as "medieval" and the kingdom's ruling Al Saud family as presiding over a "dictatorship".

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