Last week (2 August 2018), Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted her support for, and called for the release of, a prominent Saudi Arabian human rights activist, Samar Badawi, who was recently detained by the Gulf state (she has family links in Canada). In response to Ms Freeland’s remarks, Saudi Arabia has:
- Begun selling its Canadian assets;
- Expelled the Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak (see Canadian response);
- Frozen new trade and investment with Canada;
- Suspended a student exchange programme to Canada;
- Suspended all flights by state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines to Canada;
- Suspended all medical treatment programmes in Canada, and will be transferring all Saudi Arabian patients out of the country.
Yesterday, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that new investment in Canada would continue to be on hold until the crisis had been resolved, but added that existing trade and investment would not be affected.