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Ontario tells LCBO to pull all Russian-made products from store shelves

Province can't continue 'to be Putin's customer,' Liberal leader said earlier
Feb. 28, 2022

Ontario is directing the provincial liquor control board to pull all alcohol produced in Russia from its store shelves amid that country's invasion of Ukraine.

The province's Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, announced the change in a statement Friday afternoon.

"As Premier Ford said yesterday, 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," he said in part.

The move comes after the leader of Ontario's Liberal Party called on the LCBO to stop selling Russian products -- most notably vodka.

Steven Del Duca wrote to the CEO of the LCBO asking that it pull Russian items until troops are withdrawn.

In his Friday letter to George Soleas, Del Duca said Ontario should follow the lead of the federal government, which has issued sanctions against Russia and taken a stand against the invasion.

He said Ontario can't say it's standing with Ukraine "while continuing to be [Vladimir] Putin's customer."

Also on Friday, Premier Doug Ford said he was discussing the option with his finance minister, though he suggested the impact would be "very small."

Ford, who called Putin a "thug" at Queen's Park on Thursday, continued to say his government is reviewing all trade with Russia to see if any pressure can be applied. He also said he's contacted the federal government to urge Ottawa to bring more refugees to the province.

"The hard-working people of Ukraine will always be welcome here," he said.

"We need to speed things up."

The LCBO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Crown corporation sells various vodka brands from Russia including Russian Standard Vodka, Legend of Kremlin Premium Vodka and Beluga Russian Luxury Vodka.

Ontario has pledged to spend $300,000 in humanitarian aid to support Ukrainians in need.

Official Opposition NDP leader Andrea Horwath, however, is calling for Ontario to provide at least $3 million to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, and to match all donations made by Ontarians.

Horwath also supported the call from the Ukrainian community to ban Russian products from LCBO shelves.

"Our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, who are living in fear for their sovereignty and for their lives, must be concrete," said Horwath.