Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador Over Human Rights Criticism

Canada reiterates call to free rights activists

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Canada are soaring since a Friday statement in which Canada expressed “serious concerns” about the Saudi Arabia arresting human rights activists. On Monday, Saudi Arabia expelled Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak.

Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak

Saudi officials announced that they are suspending all flights to Toronto, freezing all new trade and investment in Canada, are ending educational exchanges, and are “retaining its rights to take further action” against them.

Trade between Canada and Saudi Arabia are limited at any rate. Canada buys some petrochemicals from the Saudis, and the Saudis have a deal with a Canadian unit of US armsmaker General Dynamics on armored vehicles.

The Canadian Foreign Ministry doesn’t appear to be backing down, saying they will continue to stand up for human rights and freedom of expression around the world. While the Saudis have relied on their international economic influence to throw their weight around in diplomatic disagreements, they are almost certainly not going to be able to drum up anti-Canadian sentiment to any great extent.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of