Canadian liquor store recalls Russian products amid conflict in Ukraine

TORONTO — Government liquor stores in several Canadian provinces removed Russian products from their shelves on Friday in connection with Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

In Ontario, Treasury Secretary Peter Bethlenfalvy said he directed the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to recall products manufactured in Russia.

“Ontario joins Canadian allies in condemning the Russian government’s acts 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 very difficult time.”

A Bethlenfalvy spokesman said LCBO carried about 25 Russian-made 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 CEO with a similar request.

“Ontario and LCBO cannot say that it is truly standing with Ukraine while continuing to be Putin’s customer,” Steven Del Duca wrote earlier in the day.

Other provincial Crown liquor stores took similar steps throughout the day.

A spokeswoman said Friday that Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. decided to recall Russian-manufactured products “in light of the terrible events that took place” in Ukraine.

Beverley Ware says the store sells three products from the Russian Standard line.

“The product is being removed today and we have also removed it from our website. We have also notified the agent store operator so they can also remove this product from their shelves,” he said in an email.

The New Brunswick liquor store went through a similar process. A spokesman said Alcool NB Liquor was “in the process of voluntarily removing” the product from Russia in response to the situation.

“We are currently reviewing our portfolio and are in contact with our store team to ensure all relevant products are removed,” said Marie-Andree Bolduc.

Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp. tweeted that they had decided to remove “products of Russian origin” from the store, 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 come from Russia — one vodka, Russian Standard Vodka and one single beer, Baltika 7 Premium Lager. We have removed both products from the shelves at all Manitoba Liquor Marts,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

In British Columbia, deputy prime minister Mike Farnworth announced that the province would immediately stop the import and sale of Russian liquor products from its BC Liquor Stores and liquor distribution centers.

“Our province supports those who understand that European peace after 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 followed by ground attacks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 25, 2022.

Jackson Wintringham

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