russian vodka lcbo

LCBO is removing Russian alcohol from all stores in Ontario

As Russia continues its military invasion of Ukraine, many sitting in the safety of their homes in Ontario are looking on in terror, wondering what, exactly, they can do to help, if anything.

While many are sharing information on social media, rallying for peace and donating money to the Ukrainian people in various ways, others have been calling for some tangible measures from governments here — including withdrawing Russian liquor from LCBO shelves in opposition to President Vladimir Putin's actions.

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca publicly suggested the move Friday morning, saying that it is one "immediate action Ontario can take to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Ukraine" and that "banning the sale of these products will prevent any further money from going to Russia during their illegal invasion."

"The LCBO is one of the largest purchasers of alcohol in the world. Imported spirits, including Russian vodka brands, are among your most popular products. I urge you to remove all Russian made products from your shelves until this Russian aggression ends," he wrote in a message to LCBO CEO George Soleas.

He also noted later on Twitter that Manitoba Liquor Mart had already pulled Russian products from its locations in that province as of late Friday morning.

Premier Doug Ford, too, revealed in a press conference Friday that it was something he'd consider bringing up to relevant stakeholders, saying that the idea didn't actually come from the Liberals, but is one that his own team has been discussing with the province's Minister of Finance.

"That's a very small part, and I'd be willing to discuss that further, and you'll have words later on," he said.

He then went on to emphasize the need to expedite the process to get Ukrainians fleeing the war safely here to Canada, and to support them upon their arrival.

Del Duca called the premier's response "waffling," and expressed that he was "shocked" Ford didn't take a firmer stance on the LCBO matter... until Ford did in fact order the LCBO to remove Russian liquor from its shelves on Friday.

"Ontario joins Canada's allies in condemning the Russian government's act of aggression against the Ukrainian people," Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy wrote in a statement announcing the change this afternoon.

"The people of Ontario will always stand against tyranny and oppression. To that end, I am directing the LCBO to withdraw all products produced in Russia from store shelves."

Many, though, are aptly pointing out that the LCBO has likely already purchased large amounts of alcohol from the nation, meaning that pulling it from shelves now may not have much of the desired effect, and will only impact the province, sales-wise.

This isn't the first time the LCBO has taken such action, either: last summer, the retailer yanked Stalinskaya Silver Vodka from its offerings over complaints that its name was linked to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

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