OTTAWA, ON (August 8, 2018): The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Canada has quickly deteriorated following a critical tweet from Global Affairs Canada about Saudi Arabia’s imprisonment of women’s rights and civil society activists.
Over the span of just a few days, the Kingdom has expelled Canada’s ambassador, recalled their own ambassador, suspended new trade investment in Canada, and withdrawn the enrollment of thousands of Saudi students in Canadian universities.
How should Canadian policy makers respond? MLI Munk Senior Fellow Shuvaloy Majumdar is available to comment.
According to Majumdar, the downward spiral in diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia is worrisome. “If the objective is to advocate for the rule of law and human rights, how does this collapse of relations accomplish those ends?” he asks.
“Navigating next steps will require leaders to see the world as it is, not as they wish it was. It is about advancing a Canadian diplomacy that emphasizes results over rhetoric. Given Saudi overreach through its online troll farms, such as the plane infographic invoking 9-11, there presents an opening to say: ‘Things have gone too far.’”
Shuvaloy Majumdar is the head of MLI's Centre for Advancing Canada's Interests Abroad. A former policy director to Canadian Foreign Ministers, Majumdar has also led the International Republican Institute in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the leading independent federal public policy think tank in Ottawa.
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