Canada seems perfectly fine buying more oil from the Saudi regime, despite its poor record on human rights.
In the past five years, oil imports to Canada from Saudi Arabia have grown by 66 per cent.
Altogether, Canada companies spent $1.5 billion more on Saudi oil last year, bringing the total to over $3.5 billion per year.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is governed by Islamic fundamentalist principals, is Canada’s second biggest source of oil, behind only the United States.
Most oil imports to Canada go to Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, which lack the pipelines to bring Albertan oil to their communities.
Canada has seen the cancellation or perpetual postponement of multiple pipelines which would have cut Canada’s dependency on foreign oil, most notably the Energy East pipeline.
Part of the blame for shutting down Energy East goes to Quebec, whose government has done all in its power to stop Quebecers from accessing Canadian oil.
“There’s no social acceptability for an additional oil pipeline,” Quebec Premier Francois Legault said shortly after being elected.
Yet for Legault, it’s perfectly fine to buy oil from an authoritarian monarchy which routinely executes people in the name of religion.
Just a week after Legault’s comment, Saudi Arabia executed 37 people in one day, including at least three minors.
One of the executed was left crucified in a public place after they had died.
It was later found out by human rights advocates that most of the beheaded were from the country’s Shiite Muslim minority — many allegedly did not have fair trials.
One of the executed had been arrested at 17, beaten and tortured until he confessed, and held in solitary confinement before being beheaded.
His crime? Sharing information about ongoing protests of the social media WhatsApp.
Over 1,100 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia in the past decade, many with absurd charges ranging from sorcery, activism within minority communities and even homosexuality.
Despite a diplomatic row between Canada and Saudi Arabia, which saw the Kingdom recall all its students studying at Canadian universities, Canada still seems keen to rely on Saudi oil.
Canada lost over $20 billion in 2018 because oil producers could not ship enough oil and gas given current pipeline capacity — about one per cent of the country’s GDP.
From both human rights and economic standpoints it makes more sense for Canada to build pipelines and use Canadian oil, and leave Saudi oil in the ground.