It's safe to assume that Canada will not receive any "wish you were here" cards from the Kingdom of Saud. But, Tom Walkom writes, Canadians need not get exorcised about the situation:
For the truth is that Saudi Arabia isn’t very important to Canada. And vice versa. Figures compiled by the Library of Parliament show that Saudi Arabia was Canada’s 25th largest trading partner in 2015.
Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia (mainly military vehicles and parts) comprised only 0.2 per cent of this country’s exports overall. Similarly, Canadian imports from Saudi Arabia (mainly oil) comprised only 0.4 per cent of imports overall.
The Saudis have quietly announced that the dispute won’t affect that country’s sale of oil to Canada. Nor is there any indication that it will affect Canada’s lucrative sales of military equipment to Saudi Arabia — including a controversial $15 billion deal to build light armoured vehicles for the desert kingdom.
The wheat and barley boycott might matter if we sold a lot of those grains to Saudi Arabia. But we don’t. Only 7 per cent of Canadian barley exports are destined for Saudi Arabia. The figure for wheat exports is a staggeringly low 0.4 per cent.
As for Saudi financial penalties, the Globe and Mail reports that the country’s central bank holds less than one per cent of Canadian securities domiciled abroad.
The decision to pull Saudi medical students from Canadian universities will hurt. But they arrived because of funding cuts. It's time to restore what was cut.
There's a lot of smoke and not much fire:
Instead, we have this largely phoney war. The Saudi autocracy is using Canada to show the kingdom’s internal critics that it has no patience for Western meddlers.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is using the Saudis to show his critics than he can’t be pushed around.
And it's wise policy to keep one's distance from a country which still crucifies people.