Saudi Arabia's State Airline To Halt Flights To And From Canada

Saudi Arabia's media ministry is investigating the incident, which came as tensions between the two countries escalated.

Last week, Canada said it was "gravely concerned" over the new wave of arrests of rights campaigners, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, and called on Riyadh to 'immediately release them'.

"We will always speak up for human rights, we will always speak up for women's rights around the world", she told reporters in Vancouver.

Samar Badawi is a famed women's right activist and is the sister of Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years for insulting Islam by a Saudi Arabian court in 2014.

McTeague said the risk of Saudi Arabia causing gas prices to rise is minimal - even locally in New Brunswick - given the "very robust market" globally for crude and Irving Oil's allocation to the USA northeast.

Samar's brother, blogger Raif Badawi, was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for "insulting Islam" in a case that sparked an worldwide outcry.

Riyadh's singling out of Canada is aimed at strongly discouraging other critical Western governments from speaking out, observers say. It also suspended new trade dealings with Canada.

The diplomatic row erupted after Canada tweeted about a recent arrest in Saudi Arabia.

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. Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs.

"We are waiting to hear from Saudi Arabia details of its response and we look forward to hearing those details". It has expelled the Canadian ambassador and recalled its envoy from Ottawa. Freeland said the embassy in Saudi Arabia is still in place and providing services to Canadians. On Monday, Freeland doubled down on the position by saying Canadians expect their government's foreign policy to be guided by their values.

"These countries are able to host the students, and we at the ministry are committed to facilitating the students' transfers so they can easily complete their education", he said.

On one hand, it would be a bad scenario to cancel the arms deals, but on the other, many human rights groups have criticized Canada's decision to sell armoured vehicles to a regime with a "horrible human rights record", Juneau said.

Saint Mary's University estimated there are about 100 students from Saudi Arabia studying at their campus while there were 80 at Mount Saint Vincent during the winter semester.

  • Jon Douglas