TORONTO — Crown liquor stores in several Canadian provinces were pulling Russian products from their shelves Friday in light of Russia's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
In Ontario, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said he was directing the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to withdraw products produced in Russia.
"Ontario joins Canada's allies in condemning the Russian government's act of aggression against the Ukrainian people and we strongly support the federal government's efforts to sanction the Russian government," Bethlenfalvy said in an emailed statement.
"We will continue to be there for the Ukrainian people during this extremely difficult time."
A spokeswoman for Bethlenfalvy said the LCBO carries approximately 25 Russian-produced products, and said the government was told stores could remove them within 24 hours.
The Progressive Conservative government's announcement came hours after the provincial Liberal leader wrote to the LCBO's CEO with a similar request.
"Ontario and the LCBO can't say it's truly standing with Ukraine while continuing to be Putin’s customer," Steven Del Duca wrote earlier in the day.
Other provinces' Crown liquor stores made similar moves throughout the day.
A spokeswoman said Friday that the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. decided to pull Russia-produced products "given the terrible events taking place" in Ukraine.
Beverley Ware said the stores sold three products from the Russian Standard line.
"The products are being removed today and we have also removed them from our web site. We’re also notifying operators of agency stores so they can also remove this product from their shelves," she said in an email.
New Brunswick liquor stores were going through the same process. A spokeswoman said Alcool NB Liquor was "in the process of voluntarily removing" products from Russia in response to the situation.
"We are currently reviewing our portfolio and contacting our store teams to make sure all relevant products are removed," Marie-Andrée Bolduc said.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp. tweeted that it had decided to remove "products of Russian origin" from stores, including Russian Standard Vodka and Russian Standard Platinum Vodka.
Manitoba Liquor Mart made a similar statement.
"Among the thousands of products we carry, only two came from Russia – one vodka, Russian Standard Vodka, and one single-serve beer, Baltika 7 Premium Lager. We have removed those two products from shelves in all Manitoba Liquor Marts," it wrote on its Twitter account.
In British Columbia, deputy premier Mike Farnworth announced that the province was immediately stopping the importing and sale of Russian liquor products from BC Liquor Stores and its liquor distribution centres.
"Our province stands with those who understand Europe's peace following two world wars depends on respecting international law," he said in a statement.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine began early Thursday with a series of missile strikes quickly followed by a ground assault.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2022.
Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press