Firstly, this is not fiction. The irony and ludicrous nature of these events called for satire, and satire responded. The mayor had six weeks to change the inspector’s mind and drop the charges, and all media coverage was stayed until the day after the trial, at which point camera crews began arriving at the town hall.
It is evident that the people running this town do not understand why anyone would be so interested in dead leaves, although Mayor Perreault did admit that “some of his best friends” make compost
They actually don’t get it, and their stunned expressions, in court and on camera, are nothing if not comical. Most of the court-room got a chuckle out of my description of what goes into compost. Judge Locas told me that I did have the right to a trial in English, but…
Then he ruled that, since there were shredded leaves in the compost, I was, in fact, guilty of “illegal storage of dead leaves”.
The trees were given to me by the Forestry Ministry, who frequently distribute seedlings to encourage citizens to plant trees. Ménard did order me to get rid of them!
Our town’s garbage does go to the Miron quarry, which is the highly controversial cesspool I described. Tons of dead leaves annually constitute a significant portion of our garbage.
Richard Grisé was asked to resign by the Prime Minister, whom, it was speculated, would have lost all voter confidence had he allowed Grisé to retain his post, which Grisé was bold enough to want to do. Phillip Edmonston is one of the most likely cabinet ministers to give a damn about compost and farmers. The minority N.D.P. party is the most likely to stand behind such issues. His office did tell me that they try to keep their noses out of local affairs. A city inspector did tell me that many things have been done here by means of greased palms.
If you can tell me under whose jurisdiction the health of our planet falls, please do.
The “Complaints Commissioner” of The Agricultural Land Protection Commission has had the details of all this for over a year now and has not yet come to a decision. He has the authority to tell the city to keep its nose out of farming. Since the day Ménard stomped through my flower beds, I have been visited by numerous unidentified persons with cameras, although Ménard was the only one with enough nerve to stomp through my þower beds and say that he has the right to, ‘cuz he’s an inspector. The others sneak around the neighbours’ taking pictures and asking questions, refusing to identify themselves. People convicted of cocaine possession tend to receive less harassment and lighter sentences than what I have been treated to for leaf possession.
Parks Canada did call me about their leaves, following pressure from Environment Canada to set an example. The City of Westmount did hire me to explain the use of compost bins to citizens, as part of a highly successful compost bin program. Agricultural colleges and Departments of Agriculture have asked for my advice, which has always been in the area of chemical-free gardening, and years before the idea was popular.
I suppose it’s been a couple of years now that I spoke to the St. Lambert Horticultural Society. A member asked me, “How are we supposed to make compost? The city has a by-law prohibiting it.”. I replied that, at this point in time, such a law was environmentally retarded and had to be changed. Within an hour, a representative of the city interrupted the meeting to say that the regulation would soon be changed, and would immediately cease to be enforced. Obviously these changes were in the works before I said anything about it, but this incident can be taken as a sign of the times.