The Saudi government on Wednesday ordered some 16,000 Saudi students in Canada to pack their stuff and made arrangements for their relocation, whether they received government funding or not. Annual Saudi-Canadian trade hovers around $4bn.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently went on a global tour touting proposed economic reforms and promoting his vision for the kingdom as "the next Europe".
However, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry called Canada's plea a "grave and unacceptable violation of the kingdom's laws and procedures".
Now, the kingdom has suspended training, scholarships, and fellowships of 16,000 of their students studying in Canada and has asked them to find academic programs elsewhere, according to a report by Saudi-owned Television channel, Al Arabiya.
But if this was an attempt by Saudi Arabia to push down Canadian markets, the move had limited success.
The true impact of Saudi Arabia's flexing of diplomatic muscle is still unclear. Saudi state airline Saudi said it was suspending flights to and from Toronto. We are going to continue to enunciate what we believe are the appropriate ways of dealing with citizens, " Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Tuesday.
"We have very strong trading relationships around the world", he said. That will remove an estimated $2 billion in investment from Canada.
"The matter is not about human rights; it is a matter of national security", the minister said.
Saudi Arabia has directed asset managers to sell off Canadian equities as part of an escalating response to criticism from Canada according to a report by the Financial Times.
The European Commission said it's seeking clarification about the arrest of activists in Saudi Arabia. Prior to his appointment to Riyadh in 2015, Horak's government biography states he was head of mission in Iran for the then-Foreign Affairs Ministry.
"The key is to work with allies and friends in the region to cool things down, which can happen quickly", said the source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation. "A mistake has been made and a mistake should be corrected", he told a news conference in Riyadh.