Update: Despite an initial threat to force all citizens to divest from Canada, Saudi Arabia has for now only decided to force its central bank to sell Canadian assets. This will have a huge impact on both Saudi and Canadian citizens and economies. Canadian officials and news sources are scrambling for more information so stay tuned.
The government in Saudi Arabia seems intent on making an example of Canada.
After the foreign secretary criticized the restrictive monarchy's treatment of a womens' rights activist, the Saudi government reacted with extreme measures, which have included a halt to diplomatic relations and a freeze of all trade.
Saudi state media even threatened what appeared to be a 9/11-style attack in Toronto. Though that outlet later apologized, Canadians were understandably alarmed. Other Saudi media sites have even voiced veiled support for the separatist movement in Quebec.
While those moves border on the ridiculous, the latest economic sanctions coming from the Saudi government are seriously concerning.
According to the Financial Times, Saudi officials have ordered its central bank to immediately divest from Canada. That includes selling assets, including pensions funds, Saudi citizens have in the country. This will have a huge impact on those investors, who may lose innumerable amounts of money if they are forced to sell at a disadvantageous time.
Saudi Arabia is sending a signal that is it is even willing to harm its own citizens to punish Canada for what it perceives as a breech of sovereignty and interference in domestic matters.
The move will, of course, have a tremendous impact on the Canadian economy, constituting a massive and immediate loss.
That might be why Canadian government officials have reached out to the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates to mediate a solution to the quickly-escalating dispute.
The Saudi government is proving unpredictable (that's probably its goal), so there's no telling where this situation will go