"We need to tear up the blank check that was given to the government"

Werner Boxler is one of the leading figures opposing the Covid 19 bill being put before the people. He calls the law anti-freedom.

Article du 24heures, by Sébastien Jubin

Article du 24heures


German translation of the interview:

"The end of our freedoms", "discriminatory law", "political blackmail": these arguments are vehemently repeated. We met Werner Boxler, co-president of the Friends of the Constitution who initiated the referendum against the Covid law. His apartment in a popular residential area of Lausanne doesn't really look like a campaign headquarters. Werner Boxler, wearing thin red-rimmed glasses and a ponytail, greets us politely. The 62-year-old life coach from St. Gallen has lived in the Vaudois capital for almost 40 years. He is the father of four children and recently became a grandfather. In his living room, which is dominated by the color red and a climbing plant, he serves us a glass of water, looks at us with his dark eyes and a direct gaze, and begins to answer in a calm voice.

Who are you, Werner Boxler?
A free and independent citizen, bound only by his conscience. I have never felt so much love for my country as I do at the moment. I want to honour and preserve the values that made Switzerland one of the world's first democracies. I am thinking of my one-year-old grandson's generation. I want him to be proud of what I stood for during this crisis.

To what extent does the Covid law end our freedoms?
Since the start of crisis management in mid-March 2020, the Federal Council has been issuing ordinances using the Emergency Powers Act. This has lasted until mid-September. Many measures violated fundamental rights, such as the right of assembly and the right to work. Suddenly you couldn't go anywhere, even peacefully, without being harassed by the police. In May 2020, I was alone in Bern and was asked to leave. It became clear to me that something was no longer right with our constitutional state.

But the debate took place as usual in the National and Council of States chambers, didn't it?
The principle of subsidiarity is no longer respected. There is a shift of power from Parliament - and thus from the people - to the Federal Council. We are dancing to its tune. For the first two months it was relatively justifiable, I admit. But after that, emergency law should have ended to make way for the normal democratic processes. Parliament has failed.

What is a common way of governing in the Covid period?
By constantly talking about emergency, it becomes normality. I do not agree with that. We must take back the blank cheque given to the government, tear it up and let Parliament do its job.

You don't like this Federal Councillor very much?
It's not a question of affection. I could go for coffee with any member of the college. I believe I have something to share with them and I am also willing to listen to them. That is the principle of debate. It took seven hundred years to create a democracy, one year to destroy it, and now it takes a vote to restore it.

Bern has announced gradual relaxations. Don't you want to return to normal life?
Of course! But not under all circumstances.

Will you be able to look small traders or SMEs straight in the eye if grants are blocked outright?
The opposing camp sells us a policy that has no alternative. But there are alternatives. All the articles of law dealing with popular and business support could be removed from the Covid Bill and made ordinary law. We are reaching out and offering solutions. The ball is in Parliament's court. Our position is consensus-based.

Are you denying that there is a serious health crisis?
In 2020, there was excess mortality among those over 75.
Considering the changing demographics of the country and the fact that baby boomers are entering their 3rd and 4th years of life, we have to admit to this increase in deaths.
But there is no excess mortality among the younger ones.
In addition, the focus is on Covid-19 decedents without distinguishing them from decedents who were infected but died due to other causes.

Protective measures, masks, hygiene rules, closing public places, is it all just hot air? The scientific community will prove you wrong.
You just need to be proportional in every action. The first thing you should do is wash your hands. Masks are useful for symptomatic people. When a sick person leaves the house, he should be sure to not spread droplets. The mask protects, that is well known. But several studies also show that the effectiveness of the mask is relative, especially if you move it, put it under your nose, use it several times, if you do not wash your hands. The mask must be clean to be of any use. Also, for the virus to develop, it has to meet a weakened immune system. Forcing children 12 and older to wear masks is nonsense. Children generally have healthy immune systems.

They advocate vaccine freedom for all ages and all segments of the population. But this individual freedom already exists.
We have started to vaccinate in the retirement and nursing homes. Many residents have accepted vaccination in order to be allowed to return to the communal areas and, more importantly, to see their loved ones again. The disadvantages (for those not vaccinated) in the homes and the medical profession's insistence on widespread vaccination is covert coercion. There is always the threat of quarantine as well. In my opinion, this is house arrest for people who suffer from it. Prisoners are also in this situation.

Preventing hospital congestion is a good goal, isn't it?
It must, of course, be possible to save them all. But in fact, over the last twenty years, hospital capacity has been reduced by 20% to 30%. Profitability has been put before quality of care. This profitability requires that a hospital be between 80 % and 90 % full. If there is the slightest problem in the community, the remaining 10 to 20 % will be filled. Last summer, the authorities could have massively increased hospital capacity. And what did they do? They put all the money into the economy. They wouldn't have needed to if they had put people to work. This transfer of money is a thoughtless and irresponsible waste.

Which country can serve as a model?
Sweden, unequivocally. This country appeals to individual responsibility with the aim of the well-being of all and the most vulnerable. In practice, there were some restrictions in bars, but all public places remained open, of course with recommendations on hygiene and caution in excessive partying. Granted, Sweden had more deaths at the beginning of the crisis, but today they are comparable to nations like Switzerland in terms of health. Except Sweden didn't destroy their economy.

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