A Confidential government document released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade through ATIP reveals that Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Canada requested to meet with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and complaining about EthicalOil.org was on the agenda.
Given the rest of the briefing note was filled with diplomatic filler, the kind of language UN bureaucrats specialize in, trying to stifle EthicalOil.org’s right to free speech appeared to be the Saudi agenda (document below). From the heavily blacked out document, we’ve learned the Saudis wanted to complain about our advertisement and the Saudi desire to sue us into silence was front and centre.
If the Saudi rulers are uncomfortable with the yawning chasm that exists between our ethics and theirs, the remedy is for the Saudis to close the gap by taking human rights seriously. They can start with respecting and liberating women, gays or religious minorities. More than 500 years have passed since the medieval era – the Saudis have had ample time to start catching up with more contemporary values.
We won’t be intimidated and it’s about time the Saudi’s get with the times and start respecting human rights. As Canadians who cherish our liberal-democratic values, we think it is time we choose Ethical Oil and stop supporting are a regime that seeks to suppress free speech in Canada.