Did Saudi Arabia Just Threaten Another 9/11 Attack on Canada? Well, Kinda

Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador, To Withdraw Students From Canada Over Women's Rights Criticism

In another explicit display of the country's displeasure with Canada, Saudi Arabia's state airline has suspended all flights to and from Toronto.

Pain at the gas pumps will not be an issue if escalating tensions between Ottawa and Saudi Arabia result in the oil-rich Gulf state halting Canada-bound shipments of its most famous export, according to a leading petroleum industry expert. Riyadh has also recalled its ambassador from Ottawa and has also expelled the Canadian ambassador in Saudi Arabia.

The latest retaliatory move came after Canada's ministry of foreign affairs raised concerns about the arrest of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi (pictured main), sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi.

Matt Pascuzzo said the Canadian government is in constant contact with Saudi Arabia and still waiting to get all the facts from the Saudis.

A handful of Canadian companies operate in Saudi Arabia and could potentially be affected by the ongoing trade battle.

A pro-government Saudi Twitter account provoked outrage when it posted - then deleted - a 9/11-style digitally altered image showing an Air Canada plane flying towards Canada's tallest skyscraper the CN Tower.

In recent months Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on women driving, but it has also arrested activists, including more than a dozen high-profile campaigners for women's rights.

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The fallout is a result of a tweet from Global Affairs Canada calling for the kingdom to immediately release jailed human rights activists.

Saudi Arabia's media ministry said it was investigating the incident.

Canada said it was "seriously concerned" by the escalation but vowed to continue to "stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world".

Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar has been granted asylum by Canada, where she is raising their three children.

When asked about the contract, Freeland said the government "looks forward" to hearing from Riyadh about the future of the deal.

"We're going to stand with the values that we know are important to Canadians and Saudi Arabia will take the decisions that they take", Morneau said.

Amnesty International said the response to Canada showed that it was important Western countries not be intimidated into silence over Riyadh's treatment of dissenters. The country has already demanded its approximately 15,000 students studying in Canada return home within a month.

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