As colder weather starts to descend on Happy Valley — the bise earlier this week was a rude taste of things to come — your loyal correspondent is pleased to report some interesting developments relating to topics touched on over the past few months.
Back in March, I commented on plans being reviewed by the Swiss Conseil national to make it easier for third-generation Swiss residents to acquire citizenship. Et voila: The latest news is that a proposal by Conseillère Nationale Ada Marra to simplify citizenship has now been taken on board by the Conseil des Etats, and is to be studied further. (Step by step…but movement in the right direction.) Geneva sénateur Robert Cramer noted in yesterday’s Le Temps that it’s time to “…pay homage to these artisans (who are part of) today’s Switzerland” (translations are by your HV correspondent), as apparently the proposal is particularly relevant to those Swiss-born residents whose grandparents arrived from southern Europe back in the 60s to help build the Switzerland that we have today. Predictably, the UDC has called out its opposition to the proposal. (Psst…a tip to the UDC…please don’t say where you heard this, and not that it’s implying anything, but just to flag that the honourable Mr. Cramer is in fact not Swiss-born…)
And more recently, comments around the seemingly silent response to the shame sitting on our doorstep have been overtaken by a groundswell of support across much of Europe to address the plight of the hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking a better future here.
(it is with some shame by the way, that despite the protests of her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, your correspondent’s native land has thus far failed to respond in any meaningful way to the tragedy. Shame is the only word, particularly given Canada’s postwar pro-activeness, generosity and pragmatism in embracing refugees, whether from Hungary and Vietnam, or from Uganda and Somalia… But perhaps the government’s attention was diverted by the “Peegate” scandal, surrounding a Toronto-area candidate for said ruling party who, in his private life as an Appliance repair technician, was caught on hidden camera in 2012 urinating into a mug belonging to a customer while on a visit to repair said customer’s leaky sink. And no, this is not made up.)
Here in Switzerland, such is the recognition of the gravity of the situation, that even within the UDC there are voices speaking out against the party’s hardline response to the crisis. (I mean the refugee crisis, not Peegate.) Step forward UDC deputies Pierre-François Veillon, Jean-Pierre Graber and Rudolf Joder, who refrained this week from supporting the party’s motion to freeze asylum entry and place soldiers at the border.
When the UDC has dissenting voices saying that the party’s refugee policies “do not do us any favours” (again, translation by your HV correspondent), surely the The Times They Are a-Changin’ here in Happy Valley…
For the better.
By the Happy Valley Correspondent