When you think of Canada, what do you think of? Hockey? Gordon Lightfoot and his brilliant epic, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?“ Maybe you think about Canada’s greatest son Bryan Adams, or Ryan Reynolds. Or maybe you’re a more normal person and think about maple syrup.
If you are one of those people, you’d be very much in the right as the idea of Canada being attached to the maple syrup industry isn’t just a stereotype, it’s very much true. It’s so true in fact that Canada actually has a strategic reserve of maple syrup… and it’s about to get tapped! (Please note that the previous line reads a lot better if you say it in the voice of a narrator for an action movie trailer)
Generally when you hear the phrase “strategic reserve” it’s tied to the US oil supply. In times of crisis, the US can tap into its oil reserve to help mitigate some of the control that foreign oil companies have over prices and supply. Well, apparently Canada has its own strategic reserve, but it’s for maple syrup. Because…it’s Canada.
Quebec is responsible for nearly three-quarters of all the maple syrup produced in the world; an astronomical number. So as ridiculous as it may seem to have a syrup reserve, this is something that is tied to billions of dollars of revenue.
Two major factors have contributed to Canada needing to tap into its reserves and you can probably guess what one of them is. If your guess was COVID-19, then you’re right. Because of people staying at home and doing more cooking, demand for maple syrup has increased. This also makes sense if you consider the idea of comfort food helping to take away the pain of life itself so we don’t all spiral into an existential nightmare, pondering what it all means and ripping apart our own sense of consciousness. Maple syrup is the panacea for that.
The other major factor is the weather. Because there wasn’t much of a spring for the area this year, it mostly went from winter to a hot summer, the season for maple production was very short. Even though there was still a good harvest, it wasn’t enough of one to meet up with the increasing demand. So what’s Canada to do in order to help maintain its stranglehold on the market? Release the Krak…er, the maple syrup reserves.
There are many deeper issues connected with this as well as accusations regarding Quebec maintaining a monopoly that’s restrictive of a free market and international competition. Some of these complaints are from within Canada as well, as some citizens find the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers to restrict their ability to be an independent seller.
So the next time you put that syrup on your pancakes while watching reruns of “SCTV” and jamming out to the music of Rush; just remember the amount of politics and market strategies that allowed for that sweet decadence. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go “oot and aboot” to drop by Tim Horton’s and pick up some Timbits, go curling, and look at some moose, eh? Or to put it another way, blame Canada.