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In a dramatic turn of events this week, Ontario’s most famous groundhog, Wiarton Willie, has come forward with astonishing allegations that put Mother Nature at the heart of a conspiracy of snow and raise serious questions about her integrity .
In an exclusive interview for Laughing Stock News (LSN), Wiarton Willie alleges that Mother has been working with the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA)—known lobbyists for snowplow manufacturers— to prolong winter so that the industry can post another year of record profits.
The corruption allegations come in the wake of arrest warrants having been issued for Puxsutawney Phil and Old Man Winter. Phil is wanted in New Hampshire for lack of transparency around his annual winter prediction, which was grim in its call for at least six more weeks. Meanwhile, the RCMP in Nova Scotia say Old Man Winter is wanted “in relation to a series of storms in Nova Scotia.”
According to Willie, in late August of last year, he was approached by Puxsutawney Phil, Old Man Winter and Schubenactedy Sam—who was identified as a person of interest in the Nova Scotia warrant—and pressured to fly to Michigan to attend a late-night meeting with executives from SIMA and some of the world’s leading snowplow manufacturers.
“I went straight to Mother and told her about the back-channelling but she said I should go. That’s when I knew something was wrong. She asked me to ‘keep an open mind.’” Willie says Mother Nature wasn’t at the meeting but that Executives from SIMA were calling the shots. “They wanted Old Man to deliver the snow, and us Groundhogs to go long on the shadow call to ensure buy-in from the public.”
When asked if Old Man Winter or Mother Nature had ever strong-armed him before, Willie describes Old Man as “an unscrupulous bastard” but says the request from Mother was “totally out of character.”
The meeting supposedly took place at the Suarez Friendship Woods on August 26, 2014. LSN has confirmed that the date and location coincide with SIMA’s Salt Summit in Madison Heights Michigan.
“Sam and Phil rolled over pretty fast. They’ve both been on the take for years—especially Phil. He isn’t known as Puxsutawney Phil-my-coffer for nothing.” Indeed, several media outlets have reported that Puxsutawney has gone into hiding at the Gunstock Mountain Resort in New Hampshire—a posh resort with whom he’s been known to have had inappropriate ties.
“Mother always said we had to be on the up-and-up—that the economic implications from her operation were too massive and taking bribes would be the death of us. But this year, I don’t know what happened. It’s like she binge-watched both seasons of House of Cards or something. She just went crazy political.”
Willie says he refused to take part in the scheme and when he returned to Bruce County after the meeting Mother came to see him and disclosed the rest of the plan in a last-ditch effort to shore up his support.
“She said ‘We need to fight fire with fire.’ The plan was to use the kick-back from SIMA and the snowplow companies to fund environmental groups and finally start doing some damage to the oil and gas lobby. I didn’t disagree with what she wanted to do, just the way she wanted to do it.”
Willie says it was at this point when he pretended to go along with Mother. “She’s an unimaginably powerful woman. And not only that, but she’s got a really bad case of greenhouse gas and she gets hot flashes, so you don’t want to be in a room alone with her for too long. I said ‘sure, whatever’ just to get her out of there. But I thought about it all winter and when I came out on February 2nd and didn’t see my shadow I had to do the right thing.”
Multiple seasons of heavy snowfalls in the United States and Canada have driven up demand for snowplows and manufacturers have posted profits in the tens of millions in recent years. In 2014 Douglas Dynamics, one of the biggest players in the industry, announced a quarterly net sales increase of 52% over the prior year’s results.
Representatives from SIMA and Douglas Dynamics would not comment on Wiarton Willie’s accusations. But snowplow makers live and die by average annual snowfall and they have a lot to gain by having Mother Nature on their side.
For her part, Mother also refused to answer the allegations but issued the following statement, “I am happy to report that the seasonal transition is proceeding on schedule. Ladybugs, the forerunners of spring in many northern regions, have been placed on high alert, with ground troops having already been deployed in some zones.”
When asked why he didn’t come forward sooner about the conspiracy Wiarton Willie says he thought no one would believe him. “But when I heard the RCMP was going after the Old Man, I knew it was time to tell my story.”
Michelle Hauser is a former professional fundraiser turned humorist and freelance writer. She lives in Eastern Ontario (Canada) with her husband Mark and their son Joseph. Please click here to sign up for her monthly Newsletter.