Thousands could be without power ‘for days’ after severe B.C. windstorm


Thousands of people living on B.C.’s South Coast could be without power for days after an intense windstorm hammered the region all day Thursday, possibly turning deadly on Vancouver Island.

Environment Canada said gusts hit up to 100 km/h across Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley. At one point, more than 330,000 people were without power.

As of early Friday morning, BC Hydro said 150,000 customers were still in the dark.

More than 230,000 homes have lost power as another « significant » windstorm batters B.C.’s South Coast, also leading to widespread ferry closures and shutting down access to parts of Vancouver’s Stanley Park for the sake of public safety. 2:07

The utility called it « one of the most severe storms BC Hydro has experienced in years, » adding that it could be days before power is fully restored to everyone.

A Vancouver police officer looks up at a tree that fell onto a house in Vancouver on Thursday. (CBC)

A tweet from the utility said hydro workers made progress on outages across the mainland, but the brunt of the damage was taken by Vancouver Island. Crews are being sent to the island on ferries Friday morning to get to the hardest-hit spots.

One killed, another injured

The BC Coroners Service said a person was killed by a falling tree in the city of Duncan on southern Vancouver Island, though it is unclear if the tree fell because of the strong winds.

In Surrey, a worker was hurt when a tree went down near Pacific Academy school. They were taken to hospital and WorkSafeBC is investigating the incident.

104-year-old pier collapsed

In White Rock, about 50 kilometres from Vancouver, the city’s landmark pier was partly destroyed by powerful waves.

Video from the shoreline shows waves ripping out a large section of the 104-year-old structure, leaving a man trapped on the far end. He was later rescued by helicopter.

A person was airlifted to safety after getting stranded on a pier broken in two by a powerful storm. 0:47

Nearly two dozen boats were also clobbered by the waves, crashing into each other along the pier. The entire beach promenade — a well-known tourist hotspot in the summer — was littered with debris tossed up by the ocean.

City officials said more details on clean-up and repair plans would be released Friday.

Rail line damaged

The waves in White Rock also cut rail service that runs along its shoreline.

Amtrak passenger service to Seattle has been cancelled, along with up to 17 freight trains that run along that route every day.

This is one of many trees uprooted by the windstorm in southwestern B.C. on Thursday. (CBC)

Burlington Northern railway owns and maintains the line. Gus Melonas, a company spokesman in Seattle, said crews worked overnight Thursday to stabilize the storm-damaged rail bed.

Melonas said there are problem areas all through to Bellingham, Wash.

Burlington Northern hopes to reopen the line Friday.

The storm also forced the closure of several public parks back in B.C., including Vancouver’s Stanley Park, out of concern for public safety.

Several public trails and viewpoints leading to the beach in South Surrey and White Rock were also shut down.


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Power workers could be made an essential service, Doug Ford says


As MPPs debate back-to-work legislation to keep power workers from zapping Ontario’s electricity system, Premier Doug Ford is not ruling out eventually designating them an essential service.

“We haven’t crossed that bridge yet. Would we rule it out? We wouldn’t rule anything out,” the premier said Tuesday at Amazon headquarters where the U.S. company announced 600 jobs for the province.

Making the workers essential would forbid them from ever striking. Their contracts would instead be settled through arbitration, as is done with police, emergency services and Toronto Transit Commission employees.

“The most important thing is get the OPG workers back on the job,” Ford said of the 6,000 Ontario Power Generation employees who are members of the Power Workers’ Union.

“We can’t afford to have any power outages, any power blackouts or brownouts across the province,” the premier told reporters.

With the bill expected to pass by Thursday, Ford said he was hopeful things get back to normal by Friday.

Energy Minister Greg Rickford, noting the government has moved quickly to end the first such job action since 1985, praised the unionized workers for behaving so responsibly in the dispute.

“When 50 per cent of the Ontario’s hydro supply is at stake, we take the issue very seriously,” said Rickford.

“We appreciate the Power Workers’ Union. They issued their vote to strike and strike notice on Friday and they remain on the job. We appreciate that, because we think they understand the importance of no interruptions during this critical season of peak demand and temperatures getting colder,” he said.

“After eight months of negotiations, three votes, a rejection of the final offer on Thursday, a vote to strike on Friday and the option for arbitration, every right has been afforded to resolve this. This is now less about rights than it is about lights.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath oppose the legislation because it infringes on the Charter rights of workers to collective bargaining.

The PWU also expressed disappointment at the bill.

“Our union has a proven track record of negotiating fair and responsible employment agreements,” said union president Mel Hyatt

“Our priority has always been the strength and health of Ontario’s electricity sector. This is reflected in how we negotiate for our membership and in our public statements about energy issues affecting the people of Ontario,” said Hyatt.

“These highly-trained and skilled term workers have not been treated fairly or responsibly by OPG,” he said.

“Since the PWU initiated the current job action in response to OPG’s last offer, our members have acted professionally and responsibly to ensure the energy needs of the people of Ontario are met.”

The workers, who operate the Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations as well as 66 hydroelectric stations, rejected OPG’s offer of a 6.6 per cent wage increase over three years.

That decision last Friday triggered a 21-day period in which the utility and its employees take steps to begin shutting down the plants.

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie


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Tories introduce legislation to block strike by power workers


The province has introduced legislation to end the Power Workers’ Union’s job action at Ontario Power Generation, but there are no plans to deem the employees an essential service, which would forbid them from ever striking.

As the legislature resumed for an emergency sitting Monday to prevent the first hydro work stoppage since 1985, Energy Minister Greg Rickford said the labour situation is “a very serious matter,” but that “essential service does not and has not formed any part of the legislation or our discussions.

Energy Minister Greg Rickford says the provincial government is “focused on creating a fair mechanism through arbitration as a result of this legislation to make sure that Ontario’s electricity supply continues uninterrupted.”
Energy Minister Greg Rickford says the provincial government is “focused on creating a fair mechanism through arbitration as a result of this legislation to make sure that Ontario’s electricity supply continues uninterrupted.”  (Rick Madonik / Toronto Star file photo)

“We’re focused on creating a fair mechanism through arbitration as a result of this legislation to make sure that Ontario’s electricity supply continues uninterrupted,” Rickford said.

The minister emphasized that the Progressive Conservative government was moving swiftly to end the dispute after the unionized workers voted twice this year to reject the OPG contract offer.

“We understand constitutional rights, but we’re here to talk about the lights — specifically, keeping them on,” said Rickford, adding it was “irresponsible” for the opposition New Democrats to try to prolong the strike.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, however, said the government has been “unnecessarily alarmist” about the possibility of a strike by OPG workers because it knows “that’s never going to happen” with the PC majority in the legislation easily able to pass the bill preventing any stoppage.

“The government didn’t even try to solve this problem … they went to the biggest hammer available,” said Horwath .

“There will be no rolling blackouts.”

New Democrats oppose the legislation because Horwath says it infringes on the Charter rights of workers to collective bargaining.

NDP MPPs refused to give unanimous consent for its passage Monday, meaning it will be debated Tuesday and Wednesday before the PC majority can get it through the house, likely by Thursday.

That means members, who rose Dec. 6 for the winter break, will be at Queen’s Park all week.

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser blamed the Tories for the standoff, saying they “should have been doing more” to prevent the crisis.

“For 33 years we’ve never had a labour disruption with the generation of electricity, specifically with the nuclear plants,” said Fraser.

“People send us to Queen’s Park and say, ‘Take care of the things that are important to me.’”

Labour Minister Laurie Scott noted that 98 per cent of all union negotiations in Ontario are resolved at the bargaining table.

But Scott stressed the government had to intervene because OPG generates about half of the province’s electricity.

“We want to see a fair deal reached between the parties,” said Scott, adding her legislation “will remove the risk of widespread power outages and allow dispute resolution to happen appropriately.”

The 6,000 PWU members, who operate the Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations as well as 66 hydroelectric stations, rejected OPG’s offer of a 6.6 per cent wage increase over three years.

On Friday, that triggered a 21-day period in which the utility and its employees take steps to begin shutting down the plants.

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1


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Doug Ford dodges questions about Ontario Power Generation firing


Premier Doug Ford repeatedly evaded questions Wednesday on news reports his chief of staff ordered Ontario Power Generation to fire a former top aide to ousted Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown, fanning speculation about political interference.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath pressed the premier in the legislature’s daily question period to “confirm or deny” the role played by his right-hand man, Dean French.

“I think this is the third day,” Ford said during the exchange. “They just keep repeating and repeating the question. OPG is responsible for hiring their own staff.”

He flipped the “confirm or deny” query to Energy Minister Greg Rickford, who replied, “OPG is a Crown corporation that is responsible for their own staffing decisions.”

Rickford ducked the traditional scrums with reporters outside the legislative chamber, where opposition parties suggested the lack of direct answers was telling.

“I suspect that there is something to hide here, I suspect that the premier is trying to change the channel on this and not be honest and up front with Ontarians on what his role is in having this person fired.”

Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers (Ottawa-Vanier) said “they haven’t answered the question at all.”

The Star has reported that three PC sources confirm French phoned OPG chair Bernard Lord, the former Tory premier of New Brunswick, to demand that veteran Conservative staffer Alykhan Velshi be removed from his role as vice-president at the Crown utility, which runs the Pickering and Darlington nuclear power plants among other facilities.

Velshi’s severance could cost taxpayers up to $500,000. He was chief of staff to both former PC leader Brown and then interim leader Vic Fedeli, who is now finance minister under Ford, as well as serving as a key aide to former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.

The call from French to Lord took place as Velshi was starting a new job as OPG’s vice-president of corporate affairs and community relations. He remains in the post, with sources saying the terms of his severance are being negotiated.

Velshi has declined to comment, referring calls to OPG’s media relations department. The company says it does not comment on personnel matters.

The government is hoping Fedeli’s fall economic statement, to be delivered Thursday, will change the channel on two weeks of bad news for the Ford administration that has also included sexual misconduct scandals resulting in the departures of cabinet minister Jim Wilson and Andrew Kimber, a top adviser to the premier.

Fedeli, who did not scrum with reporters, will outline the government’s fiscal plan going forward and update the size of the deficit expected this year.

Critics are warning Ontarians to brace for bad news given Ford’s promise to cut $6 billion in spending by finding “efficiencies.”

“We expect an economic statement that’s going to hurt everyday families,” Horwath said.

Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1


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Green party leader calls for investigation into report of firing at Ontario Power Generation


TORONTO – The leader of the Green party says alleged interference by Premier Doug Ford‘s top aide into staffing matters at Ontario Power Generation should be investigated.

Ontario government to raise seat count needed for official party status

The Globe and Mail, citing unnamed sources, reported that Velshi was recently hired by the Crown corporation but fired on the day he started after French asked the head of the OPG’s board for his removal.

When asked repeatedly about the issue today, Energy Minister Greg Rickford would only say that Ontario Power Generation makes its own staffing decisions.

Raw sewage overflowing into waterways at alarming rate: Ontario watchdog

The Crown corporation says it does not publicly discuss individual employee matters and Velshi, who the Globe says has been kept on until his firing formally takes effect, referred all questions to the OPG.

Velshi worked with Brown until the former party leader resigned in January following allegations of sexual misconduct he has denied. Ford took over Brown’s post after a hotly contested leadership race.

WATCH: Doug Ford defends handling of Andrew Kimber, Jim Wilson resignations


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Military investigating series of fires, power outages on board naval vessels


The Canadian military is investigating a rash of fires and power outages on board several naval ships, but says preliminary indications are that there are no connections among the various incidents.

The Royal Canadian Navy has been rocked over the past two weeks by fires on two of its frigates during operations at sea near Europe. One of those frigates and a coastal-defence ship in the Pacific also experienced power outages.

Crew members were able to put out the fires quickly and restore power in each incident. A senior navy officer said there were no injuries and the problems had little impact on the vessels’ missions.

Navy Capt. Trevor MacLean, chief of staff to the commander of maritime operations, said initial investigations have also failed to uncover any links among the various incidents.

There was also no indication that the problems on the two frigates, HMCS Halifax and Toronto, were connected to a series of recent technical upgrades that all 12 of the navy’s frigates have undergone in the past few years, he said.

« The initial returns from those investigations are indicating that there is absolutely no relationship between these four incidents and it was really just coincidental that they happened in such a short period of time, » MacLean said.

Still, MacLean acknowledged the sheer number of incidents was both unprecedented and of great concern to the navy, and said more detailed investigations will be conducted in the coming weeks.

‘Highest concentration’ in a long time 

The problems started when a fire broke out in an engine room on HMCS Halifax on Oct. 26 as the frigate was participating in a NATO exercise off the coast of Norway. A clogged drain in the engine enclosure is believed to have been the culprit.

Three days later, HMCS Toronto lost power while patrolling off Britain. Power was restored, but a fire broke out in the engine room after the ship docked in Belfast. Indications are that a tank overflow, likely caused by the power outage, was to blame.

While HMCS Halifax escaped without significant damage and remains deployed, MacLean said HMCS Toronto is heading back to Canada and that the affected engine is « quarantined, » meaning it can only be used in an emergency.

The most recent incident came Monday, when the coastal-defence ship HMCS Edmonton also lost power while involved in a U.S.-led drug-interdiction mission in the Pacific. Power was quickly restored and Edmonton later intercepted an illegal drug shipment.

« To the best of my knowledge, this is definitely the highest concentration I’ve seen in this short a time, » MacLean said. « But the great thing we did see is we didn’t skip a beat on operations. »

Fires have caused significant damage — and even death — on board Canadian navy ships in the past.

Crew members on board HMCS Protecteur spent 11 desperate hours fighting a fire on their navy resupply ship in 2014, while 21 sailors on HMCS Ottawa were treated for minor injuries in 2004 after a blaze on the frigate.

And navy Lt. Chris Saunders died and three fellow crewmates were treated for serious injuries after a fire on board the submarine HMCS Chicoutimi while traversing the Atlantic in 2004.

Retired navy captain Harry Harsch said the type of fires that struck HMCS Toronto and Halifax aren’t common, but do happen, and he expected a detailed investigation to identify the causes and ensure they don’t happen again.

« Fire at sea, that’s the one thing everyone takes very seriously, » he said.


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115,000 without power in Maritimes as winds and rain lash region


Tens of thousand of people across the Maritimes are without power this morning after the region was lashed by strong winds and heavy rain.

New Brunswick has been the hardest hit, with NB Power reporting more than 94,000 customers in the dark after 100 km/h winds swept across the province Saturday and into today.

READ MORE: Wind, rainfall warnings in effect for much of the Maritimes

Wind warnings had been posted Saturday and Environment Canada said parts of the province could also expect 15 millimetres of rain.

Nova Scotia, where wind and rain warnings were also posted, was hit with similar strength gusts overnight and into this morning along the Fundy coast and over northern sections of Cape Breton.

Nova Scotia Power reported this morning that more than 18,000 of its customers were waiting to be reconnected.

All of Prince Edward Island was under a wind warning Saturday and by this morning more than 3,000 Maritime Electric customers were without power.


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Over 100,000 without power across the Maritimes after windstorm


Thousands of people across the Maritimes are without power after a windstorm swept across the region on Saturday.

Winds over 110 km/h hour knocked out power to 92,000 households in New Brunswick.

Over 18,000 customers in Nova Scotia and 3,000 in Prince Edward Island are also waking up without power on Sunday.

Many have been without power since Saturday evening. 

The Fredericton fire department received more than 100 calls overnight.

« Multiple, multiple power lines down, transformers on fire, trees on power lines, trees across the road, trees on vehicles. We’ve been pretty steady all night with that, » said Fredericton fire’s platoon captain, Peter McMurtrie.

Robert Duguay, a spokesperson for New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization, advised people to not approached downed wires on roads. Duguay also warned against using generators indoors.

Over 200 Nova Scotia Power staff are working across the province to assess the damage, said spokesperson Tiffany Chase. Chase did not have an estimate for power restoration.

The Confederation Bridge is closed to high-sided vehicles, RVs, buses and motorcycles due to high wind speeds.

Concerns over wind also closed the Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick near the Tantramar Marsh on Saturday night.

The highway has since re-opened, but the transportation department is asking drivers to stay off the road if they can. 

Part of Barrington Street in Halifax was closed on Saturday night after debris flew off a building under construction. The street has since re-opened. 

Winds remain strong in Newfoundland and Labrador, with gusts in parts of the region as high as 115 km/h. 

Ferry service across the region is cancelled.


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Rookies on Toronto city council could hold balance of power


The jockeying for votes has already begun on Toronto’s new city council as old and new colleagues look to form alliances in a much smaller arena.

On Tuesday, 32-year-old Councillor Brad Bradford’s phone was ringing off the hook just hours after he pulled off one of the narrowest victories of Monday night’s election. As one of four new faces on a 25-member council, he is now in the unique position of helping to decide the balance of power in Canada’s largest city.

Jennifer McKelvie, left, and Cynthia Lai, right, are both new councillors representing Scarborough wards.
Jennifer McKelvie, left, and Cynthia Lai, right, are both new councillors representing Scarborough wards.  (Steve Russell / Toronto Star)

But as he fields calls from new colleagues and constituents, the rookie Beaches—East York councillor made clear on day one that he’ll gladly hear anyone out, as Mayor John Tory tries to build a majority of right-leaning, largely suburban support for the next four years.

“I’m not such a hard-line ideologue that I can’t listen to feedback and adjust a position accordingly,” Bradford said in an interview. “I think good ideas can come from the left and the right. It doesn’t really matter where they come from — we just have to move them forward.”

As of Tuesday, it is up to Tory and those elected to a leaner council — thanks to Premier Doug Ford’s mid-campaign interference — to sort out the new world order in a system where there are no official political parties and the mayor counts as only one vote. Those who will be pushing the buttons say there are lots of votes that are expected to be close.

Looking at previous vote records and past allegiances on council, it appears there are 10 very reliable votes for Tory, including his own, and seven stalwart progressives. The rest are somewhere in the middle — veteran and second-term councillors who lean either centre-left or centre-right, and newcomers like Bradford who have yet to be tested in the council chamber.

Though Tory strongly endorsed Bradford and Tory’s team went door to door to help him land a slim victory — with a margin of just 288 votes — Bradford said he believes his team worked incredibly hard, responding meaningfully to voters in the closing week of the campaign. He resisted the suggestion that he’ll be an automatic member of Team Tory.

“I would say that I’m here to represent the residents of Beaches—East York … That’s what I’m going down to city hall to do.”

Brad Bradford says he believes "good ideas can come from the left and the right. It doesn't really matter where they come from."
Brad Bradford says he believes « good ideas can come from the left and the right. It doesn’t really matter where they come from. »  (Steve Russell)

Jennifer McKelvie, who will represent the Scarborough—Rouge Park ward, said she considers herself a political “moderate” who wants to focus on collaboration with her community.

She supports a three-stop Scarborough subway, which remains a contentious issue returning early for debate this term, but promised she’ll be “looking at the evidence.”

“I am excited to work with (Tory),” she said, noting she did not seek an endorsement from the mayor but won’t be trying to create “unnecessary battles.”

“Through my community work in the past we’ve had good relationships,” she said.

Cynthia Lai won the open race in Scarborough North, and was endorsed by Scarborough Councillor Jim Karygiannis and provincial Minister of Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho, a former councillor in the area. She described her political leanings as centre-right and her role on council as an “independent” who plans to “fight for Scarborough” alongside councillors like Karygiannis and McKelvie.

Mike Colle, newly elected in Eglinton-Lawrence after voters chose to bounce one-term councillor and staunch Tory supporter Christin Carmichael Greb, says he is beholden to no one but his community.

“I will work with the mayor on the big issues — I want to make this council work for sure — but I don’t owe anybody anything,” said Colle, a former Liberal MPP who just barely lost his provincial seat when former premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals were swept out of Queen’s Park by Ford’s PC party.

“I’m not going to be an automatic vote, that’s for sure,” he said.

On the Scarborough subway, for example, Colle said he wants to look at the details closely. All of the confusing rhetoric surrounding that issue, he said, has “been like the Tower of Babel.”

Colle also noted he is a longtime friend of Josh Matlow, who has been chiefly critical of Tory’s ongoing support of the subway and who was elected in Toronto—St. Paul’s after Tory endorsed his challenger, veteran councillor Joe Mihevc.

For his part, Matlow — who has never been part of the left’s unofficial caucus or a member of Tory’s inner circle — says he won’t oppose the mayor just because Tory fought to unseat him.

“I believe my role is to work with the mayor on issues we’re in agreement on,” Matlow said. “But I also strongly believe that I should be independent and speak out if I see a decision made based on anything other than the facts and where money is spent wisely, because that’s part of my job.”

Scarborough-Agincourt councillor Karygiannis, who has not always seen eye to eye with Tory, is taking a different tack.

“I’ve reached out to Tory, the Tory campaign, and I said we are meeting. That’s where I stand,” he said. “I am individual who likes to work with people but I can also be very destructive.”

He promised to raise hell about his preference to extend the Sheppard subway in Scarborough.

“Sheppard subway — you work with me. You give it to me. Or else I will not be very happy and you won’t find me in your corner,” he said. “I will be in another corner. If I can win against Norm Kelly, guess what I can do against others? But hey, I’m looking to work with people.”

Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter covering city politics. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags


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Saudi Arabia has little bargaining power over Canada and U.S., expert says – National


Saudi Arabia holds little power over the larger economies of Canada and the United States, says one University of British Columbia professor, as countries worldwide condemn the Arab nation following the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the kingdom is accused of orchestrating.

Here’s why Canada’s ex-envoy to Saudi Arabia says sanctions for journalist killing wouldn’t work

“In both cases, the economies of Canada and the U.S. are far, far larger, more complex and intricate than that of Saudi Arabia,” said Hani Faris, a political science professor at UBC who specializes in Middle East politics.

“Saudis only have crude (oil) to give you or cash to buy,” he said “(Both Canada and the U.S.) can live without it without any major issue.”

Faris pointed out that Saudi Arabia’s major export is crude oil, which is not an export Canada or the U.S. rely on too drastically.

“Since the development of fracking, the U.S. now is producing more oil than Saudi Arabia,” Faris said. “If you had asked me seven or eight years ago, I would have to say Americans would be in deep trouble because they relied on Saudis a lot more, but fracking has changed the whole scene.”

WATCH: NDP urges government to stop arming “rogue nations” like Saudi Arabia

In terms of Canada, Faris said the country exports its oil from the Prairies and the West Coast and imports from refineries on the East Coast. Canada has the ability to readjust that movement of crude oil using its pipelines across the country.

Faris also highlighted that Canada has many other countries to turn to if it’s in need of oil, such as Mexico, Venezuela, Iran or Kuwait.

“All of these countries have oil for sale, and (it is) not fully sold. (Canada) can readjust; (we) don’t need (Saudi Arabia),” he said.

Saudi dissident in Quebec says people who ordered Khashoggi’s killing were also after him

In actuality, Faris believes Saudi Arabia may be the country in a bind because it owns refineries in the U.S. and has to supply them with crude oil. If the U.S. denies the Saudis the ability to import their crude oil then “they’re in trouble.”

“Saudi Arabia has to be very careful,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has been in the hot seat ever since the death of Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2.

WATCH: Saudi Arabia facing backlash over Khashoggi explanation

Saudi Arabia has said that Khashoggi died in the consulate as a result of a “fist fight,” but countries such as Canada, the U.S. and Germany are skeptical of this explanation, and Turkey is conducting its own investigation into the death.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said there will be “severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia is found to be behind the attack, and U.S. senators have suggested placing sanctions on the country.

The incident comes as the Saudis are attempting to diversify their economy and move away from oil. The country is currently holding an international business summit that has been called “Davos in the desert.” Already, large investors and businesses have cancelled their attendance in protest of Khashoggi’s death.

Arab allies jump to Saudi Arabia’s defense as Jamal Khashoggi spat heats up

Faris admitted that the Saudis could do some harm to the U.S. through their investments in the American financial market, which amount to several hundred billion dollars, the professor said. Faris believes this could cause some disturbance if Saudi Arabia rearranged its investments.

However, Faris said there isn’t really anywhere Saudi Arabia could take its investments outside of the U.S.

“They aren’t going to send them to the Far East or even Europe,” he said.

Additionally, the U.S. is “known to take measures to stop any such movement in situations like these.”

“The Americans can concoct any reason to prevent them from withdrawing,” he explained.

WATCH: No arms for Saudi Arabia while Khashoggi questions remain: Germany’s Angela Merkel

Saudi Arabia could, however, create a disturbance in the world oil market in terms of pricing if it was to reduce its production by two or three million barrels.

“It could cause a crisis,” Faris said, pointing to the oil crisis of 1973, when Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries stopped sending oil to certain countries, including Canada.

Overall, however, Faris believes the “Saudis want to sell,” adding: “It is much more important than a simple crisis over a human rights issue.”

“None of the cards the Saudis hold could cause irreparable damage to the Canadian economy or society, and that is critical,” he said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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