Over 150 Sask. students could be affected by Saudi dispute

Saudi Arabia Went Nuts And Just Had To Delete This 9/11-Esque Tweet

Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador, To Withdraw Students From Canada Over Women's Rights Criticism

Canada has asked its worldwide friends to help end a rift between it and Saudi Arabia.

The airline's announcement comes amid newly surfaced tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia triggered by Ottawa's criticism of detentions in the kingdom.

"We have had a strong relationship with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau and will work with them and their sponsored students to meet the students' current and future academic needs, whether that means students remain at Algonquin to complete their studies or transfer to another institution", Ernest Mulvey, director of Algonquin's International Education Centre, said in an emailed statement.

The Saudi government on Sunday recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, barred Canada's envoy from returning and placed a ban on new trade, after Canada urged it to release jailed rights activists.

A representative with Canada's ministry of global affairs did not immediately have a comment.

The diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia that has seen the Middle Eastern nation halt all worldwide trade between the two nations is "troubling", a Canadian farm group says, noting the dispute comes amidst rising protectionism in a number of key trading markets.

He said the Canadian investments in Saudi Arabia are still ongoing, but it's looking implementing additional measures against Ottawa.

Badawi was arrested at the end of July along with fellow Saudi women's rights activist Nassima al Sada.

Since then, the Saudis have reportedly stopped accepting grain that originated in Canada and Saudi air flights have been cancelled to and from Toronto.

Over the weekend Saudi Arabia declared the recall as well as a freeze on new trade with Canada following a tweet last week from Global Affairs Canada that expressed concerns about the arrest of activists in the kingdom.

"Both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together. We can't just beg for jobs at any price, but our members feel like they are being used as pawns right now", he said.

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If the Saudi government's threat includes oil market transactions with private-sector companies in Canada, the effects would be damaging for the country's refining sector, ARC Energy Research Institute executive director Peter Tertzakian said.

A Twitter message calling on Riyadh to "immediately release" his sister, Samar Badawi, and other women's rights activists appears to have tipped the scale.

There's a lot of uncertainty for Saudi Arabian students after their country made a decision to suspend government scholarships for studying in Canada.

The Saudis have also threatened to exclude Canadian companies from participation in the lucrative Vision 2030 programme, where the kingdom is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to modernise its economy.

The UAE has already taken Saudi Arabia's side in the dispute.

According to the Mail and Globe, which cited Statistics Canada, Canada sold more than $33.7 million (CAD$44-million) worth of barley to Saudi Arabia in 2017.

According to the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, which represents the country's 17 medical schools, there were 799 graduates of Saudi medical schools training in Canada as of November 1, 2016, or almost 18 per cent of all the foreign medical graduates training here.

Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's state-owned oil company and the world's largest crude producer, shipped 136,321 barrels of oil per day to Canada in June, the last month for which Statistics Canada oil import data is available. Canada's biggest export is a $15-billion sale of armoured fighting vehicles made in London, Ont. Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs.

One well placed source said the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - which stresses the importance of human rights - planned to reach out to the United Arab Emirates. The British government on Tuesday urged Canada and Saudi Arabia to show restraint.

Tertzakian said the "natural substitute" for Saudi barrels would be crude from the USA, which is already the single-largest source of foreign crude in Canada.

The first Canadian source said Ottawa shared the view of foreign policy experts who believe the Saudi reaction reflected internal strains inside the kingdom, where 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to push through domestic reforms.

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