Postscript: Credit where it's due
MONTREAL - I'm not always happy with our Liberal government in Quebec City, particularly the way it takes our community for granted so often, but for couple of things this week it deserves some recognition.
The government did not back down in on the Turcot project, and that's good. The plan is a compromise but it could have been worse, much worse.
Remember the original city of Montréal idea that included a spaghetti-type interchange, arguably the silliest highway idea to come around ever? [Click here for the story]
And the idea to make Highway 20 an urban boulevard, complete with bike paths and tofu stands?
At least the Transport Minister had the courage to stare down the anti-car, anti-economic development anti-everything lobby.
There will be a reserved lane for buses and fewer buildings will be expropriated. That's good.
But, and its big but, the cost originally tagged at $1.5 billion has now grown to $3 billion.
That's a lot of money, and I don't believe for a New York minute that this mega project will respect its budget.
After all this is Quebec; the contractors must be drooling.
You and I will pay more, but this is a no brainer, we need this highway because despite the cacophony of protest coming from the bicycle lobby our economy and our people still have to motor along.
Parents need to change attitudes about education
Here's another thing Jean Charest got right this week.
He said Quebec's embarrassing school dropout rate is largely the fault of the parents.
It's so politically correct to blame everything and everyone else for problems with kids every time we talk about dropouts.
We blame the school boards, blame the schools, blame the teachers, but often we forget the biggest influence: the parents.
It's not the public system or the schools that are failing.
Sure it's not perfect, but too many people in this province want the nanny state to take care of everything for them.
Education? Sure let the government handle it, and then blame the government when the kid drops out at 16.
The Education department is not blameless: too many education reform projects have left parents heads spinning and try to figure out a report card from year to year.
But on French side, one in three boys doesn't graduate from high school. In the English system the situation is somewhat better, but still not great.
There must be a clear message to parents. Take responsibility: it's important to study; it's important to stay in school.
Because this is serious.
And right now, Charest is right: many parents are failing.