Sask. government fears trade disturbance during Canada-Saudi Arabia dispute

Premier Scott Moe and outgoing agriculture minister Lyle Stewart are concerned about how the Saudi Arabia tiff will affect trade in Canada, specifically Saskatchewan agriculture.

Agricultural industry predicted to be affected by spat

Moe and Stewart are concerned about how the Saudi Arabia tiff will affect trade in Canada, specifically Saskatchewan agriculture. (CBC News)

The Canadian government's dispute with Saudi Arabia has leaders in Saskatchewan concerned about energy and agriculture trading.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced they are freezing all trade agreements with Canada after a human-rights disagreement between the two countries. On Sunday, Global Affairs Canada tweeted concerns about the recent arrest of womens rights activist Samar Badawi in Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday, Premier Scott Moe and outgoing agriculture minister Lyle Stewart were asked about how a trade freeze between the two countries would affect Saskatchewan.

Moe said Canada has recently seen challenges in its relationship with India, China and now Saudi Arabia.

"The deteriorating relationship that we see with our nation and Saudi Arabia is a trend that is bothersome" Moe said.

He estimated 10 per cent of Canada's energy products come from Saudi Arabia.

If the country loses access to those Saudi Arabian exports, Moe said he wants the Feds to ensure that companies have a way to move sustainable energy products from western Canada to other parts of the country.

"These are relationships that we expect our federal government to continually navigate," Moe said, "And [assure] we have the opportunity to provide those products logistically while we continue to work with these nations on issues such as human rights."

Stewart, on the other hand, said grain handling for Saskatchewan producers would be disrupted by the disagreement.

"[Grain company] G3 is wholly Saudi-owned and the story is the Saudis will be divesting of their assets in Canada and that will eliminate one marketing option for all of our producers," Stewart said.

G3 purchases grain from third-parties across Canada and sells it to international buyers. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

Stewart said the political fight between the two nations is unnecessary and will hurt Canadians.

"We should lead by example with them, not sort of bludgeon our trading partners with our Canadian principles."