Saudis punished Canada by halting shipments in ports, denying visas: memo

A newly released federal document provides a close look at Saudi Arabia's retaliation against Canada following criticism by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland of the regime's arrest of women's rights activists.

Angered by the condemnation, Saudi Arabia suspended diplomatic ties with Canada last August, expelled the Canadian ambassador and recalled its envoy from Ottawa.

The kingdom also stopped future trade and investment deals, cancelled grain imports and said it would shut down lucrative scholarships for its citizens to study in Canada.

The Saudi central bank and state pension funds started selling their Canadian holdings.

A briefing note to International Trade Minister Jim Carr offers more detail on how events unfolded about a month after the start of the dispute.

The document lists denial of access to military bases, rerouting of flights for product supplies, prevention of a Canadian company from importing and selling medication and various shipments from Canada being completely stopped at Saudi ports.

The note was created last September for Carr in preparation for his meeting with members of the Canada Arab Business Council, who have interests in the kingdom.