Tensions in Bern: “Personally, your aggressive tone upsets me!”


During the discussion on Tuesday on the initiative against synthetic pesticides, the tone rose in the Council of States. The accusations of those elected from Romandie Verde did not please Olivier Français at all…

Céline Vara (Verts / NE) described a catastrophic situation caused by the food industry. Olivier Français reproached him for being “vehement towards all of us”.

Service du Parlement/KEYSTONE/Anthony Anex

The debates in the Council of States have long been marked by courtesy and respect. This Tuesday, however, the tone rose during the discussion on the initiative “For a Switzerland free of synthetic pesticides”. The interventions of the three elected French-speaking ecologists of the Council of States were variously appreciated. Adèle Thorens Goumaz (Verts / VD) began by presenting the arguments in favor of the text, which wants to eliminate the said pesticides from Swiss soils within ten years and therefore from agriculture. Needless to say that in the Council of States, facing the German bourgeois representatives, this initiative coming from Romandie, is of little interest.

“What I find interesting in this text, defended the Vaudoise, is that it is a question of moving from agrochemicals to agroecology, therefore of a real transition of our agriculture, a transition, that the ‘we could compare to the one we are operating at this very moment with the Energy Strategy 2050 ”. At the end of a fairly long speech, she concluded: “Our water is polluted, our soil is depleted, the pollinating system is already disturbed. Under these conditions, the production system that we currently know is not sustainable, it cannot be perpetuated in the long term… ”Finally she said:“ Thank you for your attention ”.

“We sow death”

Lisa Mazzone (Greens / GE) then intervened, against all usage in this chamber, to restore order to her colleagues: “I would like to draw your attention to the sentence which concluded the speech of Mrs. Thorens Goumaz. It was “Thank you for your attention”. However, attention was really very poor during her speech and, out of respect not only for her but for all the people who signed this initiative, I would ask you to lead the discussions outside the room. Thank you”.

We dare to imagine the discomfort caused by this remark by the Geneva environmentalist. But it is not finished. Céline Vara (Greens / NE), speaks in turn to paint an apocalyptic picture of the use of pesticides: “Discreetly, in our fields, in our rivers, we sow death, killing in the process the least living organism, legged, winged or crawling. And we humans swallow it every day by drinking and eating. Cases of malformation in infants or unexplained cancers are on the rise. All eyes are on synthetic pesticides… ”

We have cowardly prioritized performance and the interests of a few.

Céline Vara, State Councilor (Greens / NE)

By calling her colleagues to witness, the Neuchâteloise has taken another step up in shame: “And we, decision-makers and political decision-makers, what are we doing to save the living?” His response was clear: “We have failed. We gave in to the pressure of the lobbies who get happily enriched for as long as possible, before there is simply nothing left to kill, because the bees will be gone, and the other pollinators with them. We have cowardly privileged the yield and the interests of a few, in the short term, instead of privileging the common good ”.

The three elected officials targeted

Obviously struck by such daring, Oliver French (PLR / VD) intervened to address his three French-speaking colleagues who had just spoken: “I feel an aggression on your part against our peers, a- he regretted, both those of yesterday and those of today. You make believe that the political decision-makers who are in business today, or those of the past, did not have concerns for the health of others, and for the inhabitants of this country. Personally, your aggressive tone upsets me, you have been so vehement towards all of us… ”

Federal Councilor Guy Parmelin reassured Céline Vara: “Ms. Vara, I’m telling you: what we eat in our country is healthy. The food we eat is healthy whether you like it or you dislike it. It is analyzed regularly by cantonal chemists ”.

The Council of States opposed the initiative by 28 votes to 9 and 4 abstentions.

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