Diplomatic spat escalating
Crude oil imports to Canada easy to replace, says energy economist
OTTAWA—Saudi Arabia has cancelled flights to Toronto by its national airline and halted purchases of Canadian wheat and barley as it ramps up retaliation for Ottawa’s criticism of its human rights and detention of activists.
Saudi Arabia’s angry — and to some, surprising reaction — has continued with news that Saudi Airlines would end its four-flights-a-week service between Toronto and Riyadh in the days ahead.
And the kingdom has declared it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley, confirmed Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada.
In the last year, Canada sent 135,000 tonnes of barley to Saudi Arabia, a significant part of the 1.9 million tonnes of barley exports each year, and 70,000 tonnes of wheat, a smaller portion of the 16.5 million tonnes of wheat that went overseas.
“We are seeing protectionism grow. I see this as part of that trend, using trade for other than economic means,” Dahl said. “It worries me a great deal.”
Yet Ottawa is showing little signs of backing down in its spat with the Middle East powerhouse.
“We’ve been pretty clear in our dealings around the world and specifically in Saudi Arabia that we know that it’s important that we bring Canadian values around the world. We are going to continue to enunciate what we believe are the appropriate ways of dealing with citizens,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Tuesday. Read the full story at thestar.com/canada