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Forget the vodka; why isn’t Canada banning Russian oil?

National Post: 'Over the weekend, one of the most visible Canadian reactions to the Russian invasion of Ukraine was that provincially run liquor stores across the country began pulling Russian-origin products from their shelves. As B.C. Premier John Horgan wrote in a statement announcing the withdrawal of Russian products from B.C. Liquor Stores, “we stand with those who want to live in peace.”


'There’s just a few problems with the gesture …



  • The products are already paid for. Liquor stores don’t work on consignment, so any Russian products already in Canadian liquor warehouses have already resulted in Canadian dollars being funnelled into the Russian economy. This means that the most immediate result of the policy will be a bunch of paid-for booze being poured down the drain.

  • Canadian liquor stores don’t actually carry a lot of Russian products. Stolichnaya is Latvian, Absolut is Swedish and Smirnoff (the world’s best-selling vodka) is British-owned and manufactured virtually everywhere except Russia. This is why, in Ontario, the ban on Russian products will apply only to two niche vodka labels and one brand of Russian beer.'

'And most importantly, vodka is a microscopic component of a Russian economy that actually runs largely on oil and gas – commodities that have remained conspicuously untouched even as the world assails Moscow with punitive sanctions. It’s why, on Saturday, the Ukrainian foreign minister explicitly called for an international embargo on Russian oil.'

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