Missing syrup has Canadian Federation in sticky situation


There are some days when the news gods smile on satire writers like me, and today is one of those days. I heard a news story so good that I wish I could say I had made it up. But I can’t because, sadly, it’s all true.

Small maple syrup jug with non-functional loop...

There’s a sticky situation going on for the Quebec Maple Syrup Federation. Yup, Even saying there’s a syrup federation sounds delightfully made up, as if this were OPEC or the Rebel Alliance. But, with syrup going for $1,800 per barrel, or about 13 times the price of a barrel of oil, the maple syrup heist is nothing to laugh at.

You can read the entire story of syrupy intrigue here, but in the meantime here’s the sticky details. Earlier this year an audit of the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve (Yes! There really is a strategic maple syrup reserve!) revealed 6 million pounds of the sweet liquid were missing, replaced by empty barrels or barrels containing water. The investigation eventually led to a tale of skullduggery involving  a leading syrup producer in New Brunswick, Etienne St. Pierre, Jacques Leblond, and a host of others that sound like the extras from Les Misérables.

Fortunately, in the latest development, the thieves have been pancaked, with several arrested and some of the missing syrup recovered. But the drama continues as syrup officials are unsure how sales of the stolen syrup will affect the global syrup market, and concerns from Quebec over continuing control of the syrup cartel.

And we thought nothing interesting was happening in the news this week!

© Huffygirl 2013

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32 thoughts on “Missing syrup has Canadian Federation in sticky situation

  1. I read about this– reminded me of the stories about stolen bales of hay out west. Good post- satirical but true. Nice new look to your blog- love the bird photo. I’ve been trying to get some pix of our birds at the feeders but they don’t cooperate.

    • Thanks Lisa. I finally bit the bullet and updated my theme – I’m happy with it so far.

      I have a lot a trouble getting bird photos too. The bird in the header, the red-breasted woodpecker, is one of the most skittish. Just picking up the camera and zooming the lens from my kitchen window is enough to scare him off. It seems the brightly colored birds, the ones we want to photograph, are the most skittish. Maybe because they know their bright colors make them more vulnerable to predators. Not at all like the bright, good-looking in people society. Maybe that is why there is no bird equivalent of the magazine “People.”

    • I’ve also been entertained by both the syrup and hay bale thievery going on. According to an author interview on NPR, food is the new gold. Are we going to have food pirates now? ‘Give me all your chocolate chip cookies, or you’ll walk the plank!”

      • Well if it’s coming down to chocolate chip cookies, or for that matter, anything chocolate, than it’s really becoming serious. Syrup I could live without if I had to, but chocolate? I think not. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. You had me chuckling through this one, HG, although it’s no laughing matter for the maple syrup producers, given the large amount of cash that the sticky-fingered product represented, i.e., between $18M and $30M (accounts differ).

    Btw, if I ever need a dose of purply goodness, I know where to come :P. Nice job!

  3. I read your story with horror, HG! Go ahead and poke fun at this sticky situation, but you fail to understand the ramifications for those of us addicted to a daily fix of this amber gold. I use it in my oatmeal, in my yogurt, on my biscuits, and, when nothing else is available, I chug it from the jug. No more gasoline for my car? Ha! I’ll walk. A dearth of maple syrup? How would I survive? So glad the perps were caught. Does Canada have the death penalty? Loved your humor and the bird picture.

    • Oh, this is much more serious than I imagined Susan. Apparently you have SAS – syrup addiction syndrome. (I have the same thing for chocolate.)

      No wonder syrup is so expensive – they know there are lots of people out there with SAS who are willing to pay any amount.

      Glad you liked the bird photo – I’m trying to brighten things up a bit with the change of the new year.

  4. Hmm. The nature center that employs me has a maple syrup festival every spring and sells the stuff in our gift shop. I shall do some nosing around to find out if our director has an alias like Etienne St. Pierre…

  5. So, my sister’s family has a little maple syrup operation in northern Wisconsin. I’m thinking they need to expand and start transporting it over the line. Maybe the laws won’t permit, but I’m sure if Canadians are missing their amber nectar of the Gods, there will soon be a black market. I’ll give my sister a heads-up.

    Anyway…. love the post. Laughed out loud! 😉 Thanks!

    • Thanks Patti. That might be a lucrative deal for your sister, IF she is able to avoid any unfortunate repercussions from the Canadian cartel. With all the syrup intrigue, it sounds a lot like the syrup Mafia, and you definitely don’t want to get in bed with them.

  6. See? Ya just can’t trust them sneaky Quebecois! Next thing you know, they’ll be using the syrup situation (try saying THAT three times fast) as a reason to secede! (Remind me – do they still BOTHER with reasons to secede, or do they just rant on regardless? 😀 )
    I KID! I KID! I love French-Canadians. Just so long as they ain’t puttin’ gravy on my fries, they’re great folk! (Psst. Just don’t TRUST ’em, all I’m sayin’. 😉 )

    • Although I’ve never understood the whole gravy on fries thing, I think it actually is kind of yummy. But then they ruin it by adding peas. Maybe my blogger buddy Sandra can shed some light on this for us.

      But despite the syrup cartel, the gravy and peas on fries and their pronunciation of the word “about”, I still love Canadians and always enjoy a chance to write about them. So don’t be too hard on them John! 😉

      • No worries, I love my Canucks. Trust me, there’s no way to describe walking into a Canadian military museum in WW2 uniform, only to have a group of 70-and-up year old vets descend on you to adjust every strap, buckle, and belt. And they weren’t even my adoptive Rileys from Hamilton, just a group of old codgers from Brantford! 😀
        Maybe I’ll do a 70th-Anniversary-Plus-One on the 1942 Dieppe Assault in August. That’s where I first fell in love with them nutty Northeners! (Or a post on “Red Green”. Now THAT is proof you love Canadians! 😉 )

  7. I’d rather read about this than the “Much Ado About Nothing” flap about Mante Teo. That’s all the S.B. media can talk about. Now, syrup–that’s something I can sink my teeth into! Oh Canada, indeed!

  8. Syrup.. Being a major source of sugars , is a drug and should be controlled 😉 What a funny story! Will the investigators be stuck for an answer? Will the politicians need to keep foreign governments sweet? Lovely stuff 🙂

    • Thanks Martin. I think if sugar were a controlled substance, I would be writing this blog from prison, so I hope that doesn’t happen.

      How’s the biking by the way?

      • LoL – Thanks for asking! Struggling… Caught a very bad cold in late October that I couldn’t shake until Christmas. Just starting up again.

      • Well, keep plugging away at it. Maybe when the weather is a little better. Here in Michigan most of the time we can’t do any biking in the winter. I’m relegated to riding my bike on a trainer in the basement, or going to spin class at the gym. Both are pretty boring.

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