Quebec orders SAQ to stop selling Russian alcohol products to show solidarity with Ukraine
Quebec was the latest Canadian province on Friday to order a ban on the sale of Russian alcohol as governments around the world are looking for ways to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine to and send a strong message to the president of Russia.
Eric Girard, Quebec's finance minister, said in a tweet on Friday that he has requested the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) "to withdraw all products that come from Russia."
The SAQ told CTV News it would remove the "10 or so Russian products from Russia" sold in its stores as soon as possible at the request of the government.
Earlier in the day, Premier François Legault was asked about a possible boycott, telling reporters that he was indeed looking for ways "to penalize the economy of Russia and Mr. Putin."
- The latest on the situation in Ukraine: CTVNews.ca/world/ukraine
- CTV News Channel has special live coverage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis
The premier acknowledged that measures taken by Quebec, such as a boycott, wouldn't have a tremendous effect on the Russian government.
"We're talking about not more than a couple hundred million dollars," the premier said. "The real challenge is about gas and oil in Europe that is coming mainly from Russia, so how can they stop having this procurement?"
At least two provinces -- Ontario and Nova Scotia -- also announced Friday they were pulling Russian-made products from their government-run liquor store shelves.
The leader of the Parti Quebecois was one of several politicians in Canada to call for a full boycott of Russian liquor as a symbolic statement to the Putin regime. Pierre St-Pierre Plamondon said the ban would be a sign of support for Ukraine, which was invaded by Russian military forces on Wednesday.
“We need to send a stronger signal,” St-Pierre Plamondon wrote above a photo of the Ukrainian flag in the tweet.
'RUSSIA NEEDS TO BE ISOLATED'
The Ontario premier said the discussion to ban Russian products started when he started seeing calls on social media on Thursday for boycotts, something the honorary consul of Ukraine in Montreal said can have an impact on the Russian state.
"I think Russia needs to be isolated. And it's a series of these smaller steps and bigger steps -- a combination of both -- that will actually work," Eugene Czolij told CTV News.
"So, absolutely, all steps that isolate Russia [that do not] enable it to raise funds in order to support Putin's war chest is helpful in this situation."
Nadine Girault, Quebec’s minister of international relations, said Friday the Ukrainian flag would be raised at the National Assembly in Quebec City to show solidarity with the European country.
Later, Legault also wrote on Twitter that he'd asked the Olympic Stadium in Montreal to shine Ukraine's national colours as lights from the top of its tower.
The venue later posted a photo showing the results.