Canada stands alone in diplomat spat with Saudi Arabia
A senior member in the government of the former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper lamented her country isolation because of its unwarranted row with Saudi Arabia.
Rachel Curran, a policy director under former Canadian Prime Minister tweeted:" We do not have a single friend in the whole entire world, and this is not out of the blue", referring to the policies of the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Curran's remarks echoed the US neural response to the Canadian-Saudi dispute, as Washington said it would remain on the sidelines.
“It’s up for the government of Saudi Arabia and the Canadians to work this out,” state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said this week. “Both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together.”
The UK was similarly muted in its response, noted Bob Rae, a former leader of the federal Liberal party. “The Brits and the Trumpians run for cover and say ‘we’re friends with both the Saudis and the Canadians,”
For his part, Professor Thomas Juneau, a professor at the University of Ottawa said that the crisis should be a source of major anxiety: when a real crisis comes and we are alone, what do we do?”
Former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird called on the Canadian government to move quickly to improve relations with Saudi Arabia, saying senior officials in Canada should visit Riyadh to improve relations.
"We have seen relations deteriorate rapidly over the past two weeks," he said, adding: "Saudi Arabia is a very important partner for Canada and the other G-20 countries, especially with regard to fighting and confronting Iran's aggression."
"The commercial relationship with Saudi Arabia is important to Canada, through our purchase of its oil and the purchase of our agricultural products, and there are a large number of Saudis studying in Canada, as well as our support for the Saudi armed forces."
"Perhaps our foreign minister or our prime minister should visit Saudi Arabia to improve the relationship that was wonderful just a few years ago," Baird told the Canadian government.
"I think the Canadian government made a big mistake in its calculations by criticizing Saudi Arabia; it did not realize the magnitude of the reforms that took place there at the hands of King Salman and the crown prince."
"We must emphasize that Saudi Arabia has seen major reforms in the past three years to give women a bigger role in Saudi society, with women representing 50 percent of university graduates, and the king's decision to grant women the right to drive.
The crisis was sparked by comments from the Canadian Foreign Minister, the Canadian Foreign Ministry and the Canadian Ambassador to Riyadh, calling for the immediate release of those described as "civil society activists" detained in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has taken a series of measures against Canada. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Ottawa needs to fix its mistake "Consideration is being given to taking further action against Canada." "Canada knows what it needs to do, Canada has started this, and it has to do with it, there is a mistake that has been made, it must be corrected, and this is simple, and there is nothing else."
He stressed that Riyadh did not want this crisis, "but imposed on it because of blatant and unacceptable interference by Canada in Saudi Arabia's internal affairs."