Saudi airline stops flights to Canada amid escalating diplomatic row

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The diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia that erupted over the weekend has left many wondering exactly what is going on.

Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador on Monday and froze "all new business" with Ottawa over its criticism of the ultraconservative kingdom's arrest of women's rights activists - yet another warning to the West reflecting Riyadh's newly assertive foreign policy. And they sent that tweet, which, given the very strong case that people in the Saudi government helped make 9/11 happen, is pretty bonkers.

Mr Al Yami said Saudi Arabia conducted all the necessary legal procedures as dictated by its own law. Maybe a president who prioritizes fighting terror without apology is just the guy to deal with this.

Freeland late on Monday also tweeted an official statement saying that Canada would "continue to advocate for human rights and for the fearless women and men who push for these fundamental rights around the world".

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On Monday, the Saudi foreign ministry tweeted: 'The kingdom announces that it is recalling its ambassador to Canada for consultation.

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 global outcry.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry took exception to the wording of the tweet, calling it an attempt by Canada to interfere with the country's internal affairs.

Amnesty International noted Ms Badawi has been repeatedly targeted and interrogated by Saudi security forces for her human rights activist.

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The report also said all Saudi Arabian students now studying in Canada will be transferred to other countries.

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

Bilateral trade amounts to CAN $3-4 billion (US $2.3-3.1 billion) a year, according to Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

There could be a sentiment among allies that, "Finally the Trudeau government is getting poked back in the eye by the Saudis".

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But the damage could be more significant if a $15 billion deal agreed in 2014 for Canada to sell Riyadh light armoured vehicles is scrapped, as thousands of jobs in Canada could be lost, Juneau said.

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