Last week, Canada’s rookie minister of foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, tweeted about Samar Badawi, an activist currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Minister Freeland seemed, at first, to politely and meekly, in a way only a Canadian can, ask that the theocratic monarchy release Badawi and others. A noble but, as typical of Canada, empty gesture to accomplish nothing more than gain internet points and virtue signal to “progressives” everywhere. Then the situation escalated dramatically.
Before Chrystia Freedland was the most important diplomat is one of the world’s largest country’s causing diplomatic wars with tweets, she was a journalist and author writing about Russia’s transformation to capitalism and how the super rich in society harm everybody else. Take that as you will. Ironically, she is now one of the super rich and powerful people she complained about in her books. Moving on.
Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the one rookie Freeland heads, swung way above Canada’s weight and made a tweet following Freeland’s that came across more like a demand. The language the agency used projected false authority – as if ordered by an officer of the law: “We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.”
The Canadian embassy in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, translated the above tweet to Arabic and hours later, the Kingdom retaliated. Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Canada, ordered an immediate halt on all new trade, and stopped flights to Canada. The swift and harsh response caught Canada with its pants down. The Canadians didn’t expect anyone to listen to their drivel – they do it all the time without incident or anyone questioning them – let alone for a nation to take offense and respond.
Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.
— Foreign Policy CAN (@CanadaFP) August 3, 2018
The diplomatic row was made worse because it appears Canada’s in this fight all by itself. For some reason, nobody wants to stand with Canada. Perhaps attacking your allies with meaningless platitudes on social media, especially when you hold absolutely none of the cards on the world stage, hurts your agenda more than it helps it. Canada’s former closest ally and largest trading partner, the US, has so far remained neutral. Maybe next time, Justin Trudeau will think about consequences before he tries embarrassing the nation his economy solely relies on and its elected leader. Or maybe he won’t, because thinking isn’t exactly Justin’s strength.
While Canada’s amateur, spineless leaders and government struggle to contain the disaster they created, with massive negative implications across many sectors of the Canadian economy, especially oil, and a vastly diminished influence in the middle east, the festival is extremely amusing to watch. Saudi Arabia’s government and media have made hilarious (but untrue) “exposes” and stories about life in Canada. According to Saudi Arabia, Canada is the world’s greatest oppressor of women, Jordan Peterson is a political prisoner, and Quebec is incredibly anxious to separate from the rest of the country. Read all the hilarious accusations here at the National Post.
It’s not all bad news, though. In June, conservative Doug Ford became the premier (like a governor) of Canada’s largest and most liberal province, Ontario. He’s already cancelled a disastrous sex-ed curriculum that thought it was appropriate to teach children about anal sex and transgender politics. Additionally, he’s removed the redundant and ineffective carbon tax, which will make almost everything cheaper in the province over time, especially gas. Hopefully, Canada’s new taste for effective, populist leaders translates to the federal level in 2019 and Justin Trudeau is shown his way out of power. Everyone wants to like Canada, but their arrogance makes it so hard sometimes. Let’s hope they can change that with a new, competent leader.