Nova Scotia can handle loss of Saudi medical residents, health minister says

Nova Scotia says it is ready to ``mitigate any impacts'' if it loses more than 50 Saudi medical residents because of an international diplomatic row.

The residencies, through Dalhousie University's medical school, are funded by Saudi Arabia, which plans to pull thousands of students from Canada.

Nova Scotia has a shortage of doctors, and Health Minister Randy Delorey said Thursday losing the residents would ``be possibly linked to some inconveniences.''

But he said the province expects it could handle the loss.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia suspended diplomatic ties with Canada and expelled the Canadian ambassador after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her department issued tweets criticizing the arrest of social activists and asking for their immediate release.

Delorey noted the residency positions are funded by the Saudis for Saudi students. He said Dalhousie, the province's health authorities and the Health Department are assessing the impact.