And Riyadh is an influential regional power

Canada has declined to give Raif Badawi Canadian citizenship (and the Canadian passport it would make possible).

The Trudeau government says it won’t grant imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi Canadian citizenship, arguing this would not help the case of a man sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for blasphemy.

Mr. Badawi’s spouse and their three children were granted sanctuary in Canada last year and now live in Sherbrooke, Que. Ensaf Haidar, speaking to The Globe and Mail last week, said Canada must do more to help her husband and said “the first thing” it could do now is give Mr. Badawi a Canadian passport.

She argued Canadian citizenship would give Ottawa more standing to push for his release.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion disagrees. Speaking after a cabinet retreat in southwestern New Brunswick Tuesday, he said he doesn’t believe Canadian citizenship would improve Mr. Badawi’s situation.

Why not do it anyway, because it might?

Granting Ms. Haidar’s request could complicate Canada’s relations with Saudi Arabia and jeopardize a $15-billion deal to sell weaponized armoured vehicles to Riyadh over 14 years.

Oh. That’s why not. Because they would rather sell weaponized armoured vehicles to that horrible blot of a government.

Canadian citizenship could give Canada more leverage to keep tabs on Mr. Badawi.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper used to say that Canada’s influence in Mr. Badawi’s case was limited because the writer was not a Canadian citizen.

Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, has said a Canadian passport could help.

“Amnesty International continues to urge the Canadian government to explore all possible strategies for securing Mr. Badawi’s release, allowing him to reunite with his family in Canada. A grant of citizenship, further to his wife Ensaf Haidar’s request, could boost the effectiveness of Canada’s pleas on his behalf.”

And say goodbye to $15 billion? Don’t be silly.

Mr. Trudeau is being advised in briefing books to strengthen economic ties with Saudi Arabia because it would be good for business and Riyadh is an influential regional power.

So just never mind its disgusting human rights record, its way of abusing foreign domestic workers, its unrelenting hatred of women, its passion for beheading people, its efforts to silence critics…

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