Young Journalists Club | Latest news of Iran and world

News ID: 27206
Publish Date: 12:24 - 10 August 2018
TEHRAN, August 10 - When Saudi Arabia ordered its citizens studying in Canada to abruptly leave the country it left institutions like Techno Canada in the lurch, forcing the small Toronto business school to scramble for new students in the middle of the summer.

Saudi effort to punish Canada seems to have little effectTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - But that doesn't mean the school's director wants his government to abandon its advocacy of civil rights in Saudi Arabia, which prompted the worst diplomatic rift in history between the two countries.

"I am very much with my government to stand up for human rights," the head of Techno Canada, Basu Mukherjee, said as he conceded the loss of Saudi students will hurt his bottom line. "It is going to be hard, but we will try our best to replace them."

Similar sentiments have been expressed in recent days across Canada as schools, hospitals and even some businesses largely shrug at Saudi Arabia's decision to punish the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over tweets supporting two jailed dissident bloggers.

In a sign that the Saudis may not have as much leverage over Canada as they thought, many in the country say they are less concerned about the effects on Canada of the diplomatic spat than they are concerned for the well-being of the 15,000 students who were told they cannot resume studies for the fall semester and 800 doctors and medical residents who must leave by Sept. 1.

"It's very difficult for people who have families and leases," said Dr. Salvatore Spadafora who oversees 216 of Saudi doctors and medical residents in the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network. "They are all working very, very hard and trying to study and then this happens."

The Saudi government expelled Canada's ambassador to the kingdom and withdrew its own ambassador on Sunday, days after two Canadian tweets in support of arrested activist Samar Badawi, whose writer brother Raif Badawi was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for insulting Islam.

Then it halted flights by its national airline and ordered the students home, a decision that affects institutions as small as Techno Canada, which has just 40 people enrolled, to major institutions such as the University of Toronto.

But even though the Saudis are a significant presence in Canadian hospitals and in higher-education, contributing about $1 billion to $1.5 billion Canadian dollars (US$770 million to US$1.1 billion) to the Canadian economy last year, the overall effect is minimal since other foreign students can easily replace them.

Spadafora said other medical students will pick up the shifts of the Saudi residents and physicians when they go home by Sept. 1.

Source: AP

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