Saudi airline stops flights to Canada amid escalating diplomatic row

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Within a day, Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador, froze all new investment, and canceled all flights to Toronto.

The Saudi government plans to move them immediately to other schools in countries like the U.S. and United Kingdom.

"Saudi Arabia is shooting itself in the foot".

"The normal diplomatic route would have been to call the ambassador in and to let him know your displeasure and then to try to move from there", MacKay, Canada's foreign affairs minister from 2006 to 2007 and defence minister from 2007 to 2013, said in an interview with BNN.

Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador to Ottawa and ordered its Canadian envoy to Riyadh to leave within 24 hours, according to a Saudi Foreign Ministry statement.

The Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau, a wing of the country's Ministry of Education, announced on its website Monday that all training and scholarship programs in Canada would be suspended by the end of the Islamic calendar year in September.

Traders said they had received an official notice from the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) about its decision.

"I will say Canada is very comfortable with our position".

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"Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women's rights and freedom of expression around the world", she said.

Canada last week said it was "gravely concerned" over a new wave of arrests, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, pictured left.

"So what he's doing is basically sending a message saying, we're not going to tolerate any outside criticism of our human rights record, right?"

Several of those detained have been accused of serious crimes, including "suspicious contact with foreign parties", and could face up to 20 years in prison.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently went on a global tour touting proposed economic reforms and promoting his vision for the kingdom as "the next Europe".

But the prince, who took power in June 2017, has also been responsible for a number of high-profile crackdowns on people that could present a challenge to his authority, including arrests of clerics, intellectuals, businessmen and other members of the royal family.

"We are waiting for Saudi Arabia to offer some more specifics on what they intend to do", Freeland said when asked about the arms deal.

Canada's relationship with Saudi Arabia has been cordial in the past, which has sometimes stoked controversy at home.