Few have accurately predicted just what will happen next in the dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia.
After Global Affairs Canada criticized the human rights record of the restrictive, oil-rich, absolute monarchy, the reaction from the Saudi government was swift, severe, and bizarre.
Twitter accounts in Saudi Arabia exploded in a torrent of critiques of Canada. Saudi state media has launched a smear campaign to tarnish Canada's reputation. The Saudi government has suspended diplomatic relations and new trade (except oil, the country's most valuable commodity).
But perhaps the strangest measure has included an order for Saudi students in Canada to evacuate the country. There have been differing reports as to whether that means all Saudi students or just those receiving government aid. The confusion has sent Canadian officials into a frenzy.
That uncertainty, alone, has created chaos in Canadian medical institutions.
Right now, it seems the Canadian healthcare system, which employs thousands of Saudi medical students, is about to lose a huge chunk of its work force. The deadline for Saudi students to leave the country is August 31st.
Canadian hospitals and universities are preparing for the worst. The loss of that much labour from medical students could multiply wait times and delay procedures.
The evacuation will also have a huge financial cost. According to The Globe And Mail, the Saudi government pays Canadian institutions $100,000 for each of its students.
Hospitals across the country are creating contingency plans. But Canadians can expect severely stalled service at least until medical instutitions can address the labour shortage.