Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Canada Seeks Allies' Help in Cooling Saudi Tensions

Canada Seeks Allies' Help in Cooling Saudi Tensions

McMaster University says it has about 150 Saudi students in the faculty of Health Sciences and another 40 in other programs.

Another five Saudi students were expected to start this September.

He said the university will provide support, including counselling, for any students who are here and need help.

"We're reaching out ... to identify their circumstances, what their needs are, whether they have families with them", she said. At this time, he is unsure how numerous students expected at U of G fall under that category. "We will always speak up for human rights and women's rights".

U of G is expecting about 30,000 students this fall, 24,000 of which will be at the Guelph campus.

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At Cambrian College in Sudbury, there are similar concerns, although the school has fewer Saudi students.

"They are pursuing Masters or Doctoral degrees and probably already have a Bachelor's degree from back home", said Darling.

"Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi, " the tweet said. The airline also is known as Saudia.

The kingdom went further to a plan to shift Saudi university students studying in Canada to other countries such as the United States and suspended all flights by its national carrier to and from Canada.

According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian government's statistics agency, total Canadian wheat sales to Saudi Arabia excluding durum were 66,000 tonnes in 2017 and 68,250 tonnes in 2016.

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Saudi Arabia's government said on Sunday that it would "put on hold all new business and investment with Canada" after a Global Affairs Canada tweet expressed concerns about the arrests of women's rights activists in the kingdom.

"I mean you can appreciate that there's a huge amount of students all across the country that are potentially affected by this." said Chris Mercer of the university's administration. So far, Canada and Amnesty International are the only global entities to speak out against the arrests and they have called on other states such as the United Kingdom, the USA and France to follow suit.

"People talked about a Trump bump effect".

Worldwide students benefit from being exposed to Canadian culture and languages while studying here, said Darling.

"We'll be looking at scholarships, bursaries ... whether there are any opportunities for grants", McDougall said, adding they could look at employment opportunities at the university - a tactic used in the past.

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Reid said there are several factors playing in the agreement's favour: the Saudis would have to pay penalties if they walk away from the deal, a pullout could hurt the country's reputation with other worldwide trading partners and, perhaps most importantly, Riyadh wants the model of armoured vehicle that's produced in London.

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