In another explicit display of the country's displeasure with Canada, Saudi Arabia's state airline has suspended all flights to and from Toronto. Saudi Arabia, enraged by what it said was meddling in its internal affairs, asked the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh to leave the country within 24 hours and recalled its envoy to Ottawa.
Last week, Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concerns over the arrests of seven Saudi civil society activists.
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia "will deal with any interference decisively", dismissing Canada's position as "built on misleading information", in a statement carried by state media.
It estimates that at least 15 Saudi activists have been arrested since May 15, though some estimate the actual number of unreported arrests may be higher.
Since May, a dozen Saudi human rights campaigners have been arrested according to Human Right's Watch. On the diplomatic dispute, commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said "we don't comment on bilateral relations".
'Canada will always stand up for human rights, in Canada and around the world, and women's rights are human rights, ' Freeland told an audience in Vancouver.
Describing both countries as "friends" and "partners" of the USA, the State Department on Tuesday called on both countries to resolve the issue "diplomatically".
Saudi Arabia's market closure comes on the heels of ongoing trade disputes in other key Canadian grain markets including Italy, Peru, Vietnam, and India as well as increased protectionist sentiments within the United States.
Saudi Arabia's main state wheat-buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley in its worldwide tenders, European traders said on Tuesday.
McTeague said the risk of Saudi Arabia causing gas prices to rise is minimal - even locally in New Brunswick - given the "very robust market" globally for crude and Irving Oil's allocation to the USA northeast.
"Instead of pursuing human rights reform, the government of Saudi Arabia has chosen to lash out with punitive measures in the face of criticism", said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International's Middle East Director of Campaigns. Last year, the kingdom also recalled its ambassador to Germany following a testy exchange with that country's foreign affairs minister over Saudi Arabia's military presence in Yemen.
A Saudi Arabian youth organization is apologizing after after posting an image on Twitter appearing to show an Air Canada plane heading toward the CN Tower in a way that is reminiscent of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.
Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi's wife, who lives in Quebec with her three children, said Monday she was surprised when she heard about the two new arrests.
"So neither Saudi nor Canada are going to be affected much by stopping the wheat and barley trade".
Strangely, in spite of all this, Saudi Arabia and the United States are still strategic allies.