The Gleaner
Agriculture

Quebec declares ‘National Maple Day’

Members of the National Assembly officially adopted Bill 498 to proclaim National Maple Day on March 27 to recognize the maple tree as a strong symbol of Quebec culture and identity.

The Act to proclaim National Maple Day, which was introduced last December by Samuel Poulin, the MNA for Beauce-Sud, declares the third Sunday in October as a day to celebrate all things related to maple trees, maple syrup production, and maple products across Quebec.

The designation of National Maple Day should not be confused with National Maple Syrup Day, which is celebrated each year across Canada and much of North America on December 17.

The bill notes the central role of maple products in Quebec’s cultural, social, and culinary history, as well as the province’s role in the global production of maple syrup, and the positive impacts of maple syrup production on the economic development of Quebec’s regions.

The bill also refers to the sugaring season as an important element of Quebec’s intangible heritage, as “Maple products and the traditions related to them have helped forge Quebec’s identity and must continue to be a source of pride for the Quebec nation.”

The day will serve as an opportunity to not only promote maple syrup, but to recognize the contributions of those who produce the golden (but also amber and even dark) nectar.

The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP), while pleased with the recognition, suggest the government needs to follow this gesture with concrete action to allocate public forestland to maple syrup production.

For several months, the QMSP has been calling on the government to allow 200,000 hectares of public forest to be used for maple production. “Decisions taken now will have an impact on the possibilities for developing maple syrup production. It is therefore essential that forest management consider the preservation of maple syrup production potential,” said QMSP president Luc Goulet.

Maple forests in syrup production account for 12,582 full-time equivalent jobs, $1,133 billion in GDP, and $235 million in tax revenue for Quebec and Ottawa. From an environmental perspective, the trees sequester and store carbon, which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“Maple production generates 26 times more tax revenue than logging does on the same hectare of public forest in the same amount of time,” said Goulet, while suggesting producers want to see a commitment on the part of the government and not just encouraging words.

“Maple syrup is more than going to the sugar shack in spring or admiring the beautiful leaves in the fall. It is our national emblem.”

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