I simply cannot understand the current Canadian relationship with Saudi Arabia. At face value, they are an ally in a potentially explosive region, but a person has to ask, at what cost do we keep an ally?
We import billions of dollars of their oil, at the same time that they increase production to gut the global oil price sending the entire economy of Alberta into a head spin. As thousands of Canadians lost their jobs and their livelihoods the nation announced the initial public offering of its state oil company as it raised funds for its state investment fund. In many ways using the pain and struggles of Canadians and at a cost to the Canadian economy to build their future investments. If not more frightening they are now further leveraging these gains into developments that move past oil, as they begin to develop large national projects such as the redevelopment of an area the size of Belguim to a tourist hub in an effort to diversify and invigorate their economy. In many ways now not only taking away from our Oil economy but also rapidly taking the finance and tourism from right under us.
Now forget economics, that’s the not our only problem. It becomes disturbingly hard to be a “Liberal”, “Western”, “Progressive”, or any other word you want to use and continue to sell billions in arms to a nation that is rapidly bombing civilians in Yemen and beheading its own students and the disabled for peaceful protests in an effort to reach democracy. You cannot state you support gay rights, then ally with someone who would hurl them off a bridge.
You cannot say you support equality between men and women than shake hands with the nation who believes a woman simply is not able to drive herself. At the end of the day, Saudi Arabia is not a friend. They compete in everything we hold dear. They are our competition in oil, in investment, and in ideology.
Our only problem? As Saudi Arabia rapidly competes we stay back and appease.
It is now time to radically redefine the Canadian resource sector. We need to invest heavily into our own resource extraction and refinement, and also provide a path to the future.