Canada has found itself in the middle of two diplomatic spats over the past five months. In August, Saudi Arabia took exception to a Canadian Foreign Ministry tweet urging Saudi authorities to release jailed women’s rights activists. In response, Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador in Ottawa and suspended all trade and investment with Canada. A few months later, Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of Chinese telecom firm Huawei, at the United States’ request. After Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadians, including former diplomat Michael Kovrig, accusing them of threatening China’s national security. This week, another Canadian was sentenced to death in China after a brief retrial for allegedly organizing a methamphetamine smuggling ring.
Canada probably didn’t intend to provoke a conflict in either situation. It’s hardly the first country to accuse Saudi Arabia of violating human rights – under normal circumstances the Foreign Ministry’