Saudi airline stops flights to Canada amid escalating diplomatic row


"It is a significant portion of our barley exports", Dahl said, noting the market had been considered a stable market, noting the industry saw growth potential there given ongoing food sustainability concerns within Saudi Arabia.

Today is a really good day for the United States to reconsider its seemingly boundless support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Since May, a dozen Saudi human rights campaigners have been arrested according to Human Right's Watch.

Another activist, Badawi's brother Raif, has been incarcerated since 2012.

Up to 31 University of Guelph students may be affected by the recent Saudi Arabia government decision to cancel scholarships for more than 15,000 Saudi students attending university in Canada. Saudi Arabia could potentially make up for those purchases by buying more materiel from the United States, for example - a move which would likely cut into Canadian defense industry profits.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday expelled Canada's ambassador and said it would freeze new trade deals following a tweet by Global Affairs Canada criticizing the kingdom's arrests of human rights activists, including women's rights activists. "They need to resolve it together".

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Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland later indicated that Canada was "seriously concerned" by Saudi Arabia's actions.

In a sign of the escalating situation, Riyadh also ordered Saudi students studying in Canada out of the country. Freedland urged the Saudi government to "immediately release them".

Also, as of Monday, all flights between Saudi Arabia and Toronto will be suspended. The Saudi government funds the tuition of many of those students.

There is anxiety in London, Ont., where General Dynamics Land Systems is building the combat vehicles for Saudi Arabia.

Another source said Canada would also seek help from Britain.

Meanwhile, Egypt joined a host of Riyadh's allies on Tuesday in expressing "solidarity" with Saudi Arabia.

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A spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office referred CTV News to Freeland's comments.

But Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir tweeted that Canada's position was based on "misleading information", adding that anyone arrested was "subject to Saudi laws that guarantee their rights".

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" online back in 2014.

"Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi", Freeland tweeted.

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, and three children were granted Canadian citizenship earlier this summer, and live in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

"We continue to encourage the government of Saudi Arabia to respect due process and to publicise information on the status of legal cases", the official added. 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 Saud family as presiding over a "dictatorship".

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