Why is Saudi Arabia angry at Canada? | Canada

Aaron Brown
August 8, 2018

Canadian authorities said they are "seriously concerned" about Saudi Arabia's freeze of new trade between the countries. U.S. President Donald Trump - who criticized Trudeau after a Group of Seven summit in June - has forged tighter ties with Riyadh.

European traders said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia's main wheat-buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin wheat and barley.

Last week, human-rights activist Samar Badawi and others were arrested by Saudi police.

Badawi was the first woman to sue her father to block him from preventing her from marrying the man she wanted to, and the first woman to sue the government to demand the right to vote, according to the State Department.

Ms Badawi is known for challenging Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system.

In this file photo, Saudian lawyer and human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair's wife, Samar Badawi, receives the Olof Palme prize at the 2nd chamber of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, Jan. 25, 2013.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was quoted by Reuters as saying to reporters on Monday that "it would be a shame for those students if they are deprived of the opportunity to study here".

But Qatar, which has been locked in a diplomatic rift with Saudi Arabia and other neighbors for over a year, said on its foreign ministry's official Twitter account that the GCC secretary general's statement did not represent its view of the situation.

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"Instead of pursuing human rights reform, the government of Saudi Arabia has chosen to lash out with punitive measures in the face of criticism", said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International's Middle East Director of Campaigns.

Saudi Arabia said Sunday it was ordering Canada's ambassador to leave the country and freezing all new trade and investment transactions with Canada in a spat over human rights.

But the harsh response didn't end there.

A Saudi Arabian youth organization is apologizing after after posting an image on Twitter appearing to show an Air Canada plane heading toward the CN Tower in a way that is reminiscent of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

The account later apologised and the image was reposted without the plane.

The source said Canada had no regrets about speaking out on human rights in Saudi Arabia. On the diplomatic dispute, commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said "we don't comment on bilateral relations".

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland hold a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018. But the Trump administration is not taking a side in this fight.

"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.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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