Quebec passed unique and stringent agricultural protection laws circa 1978 forbidding the use of farm land for other purposes. You can’t even build a house on “green” land, unless you’re farming it. People have been ordered to demolish houses built without permission.
In 1986, I bought a piece of such protected green land in Carignan, then applied to M.A.P.A.Q. for a mandate, which is only available to a person whose primary source of income is farming. It was granted. Also in 1986, Clifford Lincoln, then environment minister, asked, at a Pesticides Task Force public forum, would I mind if he called me for information concerning the effects of pesticides. At that same forum, we were promised pesticide control legislation resembling those in place in many parts of the civilized world. They were promised for 1989, and we’re still waiting. Lincoln has since resigned over the province’s language policies.
I bought farm land to grow things, and grow things I will! I fully intend to continue farming and making compost. No Inspector Clouseau is going to stop me, and if I have to go to jail for being a farmer on farm land and making compost with leaves that the city chooses to send to one of the foulest garbage burial sites ever, then so be it.
Mid-1991, the city began collecting paper, metal and glass for recycling. Our taxes went up to pay for it. Nobody’s taxes went up for my compost. I paid for it myself. Some think I was doing commercial composting here, but I have never been able to produce more than I need for my own food and trees. After 5 years of work, I finally noticed Blue Jays and Chicadees at my bird feeders. Without trees, Blue Jays will not visit. Without compost, nothing grows well here. The soil is hard clay. It took me three years and tons of compost to get carrots to grow here.
Within walking distance of here is St. Basile where Marc Levy, a former employee of Environment Quebec, used to keep his PCB collection until it caught fire a few years ago. The PCB’s are still there, despite promises that they would be disposed of after the fire. Marc is not there (he’s in Florida), and has paid no fine for the illegal storage of deadly PCBs.
A little further down the road, in St. Amable, some clever farmers discovered a crop better than grain. At x dollars each, they store dead tires. The hours are good and so is the pay. Recently, though, some of the tires caught fire. The tires are still there. I do not believe that anyone was fined for illegal storage of dead tires. I suspect they may someday be given subsidies to help get rid of them.
My whining neighbour uses his farm land for his business, Empty Renovations, and fills the yard with new and used construction materials. He has not been charged with the illegal storage of dead toilets.