Who would ever imagined that the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia could be such a minefield for governments in Canada. Modern progress is coming rather slowly in that part of the world, especially for women. Recently, they were allowed to vote and run as candidates for the first time, but Sharia law still imposes many restrictions on women.
They are not allowed to attend the same classes as men, and this has become an issue for some Ontario community colleges which are offering programs in the desert. Less than half the money that it takes to run college programs in Ontario comes from Queen’s Park, so like many colleges and universities across Canada, they’re forced to find other sources of revenue. The Saudi operations are worth many millions of dollars, but someone should have foreseen the potential problem in making these courses available to men only.
I wonder if Premier Kathleen Wynne has ever talked about Saudi Arabia with her good buddy Justin Trudeau? Ottawa is stuck with a deal they inherited from Stephen Harper’s gang. Canada is committed to a $15 billion trade agreement that includes the sale of light armoured vehicles to the Saudi military. When the deal was announced in 2014, Harper pounded his chest claiming that it would keep 3,000 Canadians fully employed for more than a decade. Now some embarrassing questions are being asked.
Might the Saudis use these vehicles to wage war against their own people? The questions became louder recently when the regime carried out summary executions of 47 people who were suspected of being terrorists.
As the world price of oil continues its plunge below $30 U.S. per barrel, the Saudis are exporting more and more of it, making the problem worse for other oil producing nations like Canada. I’m told that the cost of producing a barrel of Saudi oil is something like $7, so they have a long way to go before they’ll be selling the stuff at a loss.
What Marshall McLuhan called the Global Village is getting more complicated all the time.
I’m Roger Currie