Many people are furious with François Legault, the Premier of Quebec. He broke his promise to build a tunnel where cars could travel between the cities of Lévis and Quebec. Did he have to keep his word? And do we always have to keep our promises?

Last week, the government of Quebec changed the project called “third link”, deciding that it would be reserved for public transport.

The problem is that Prime Minister François Legault had promised citizens that if they voted for him, he would build a tunnel intended in part for cars. Children’s philosopher Gilles Abel followed this soap opera. He is answering our questions.

We can understand that they are disappointed. Their confidence in the government has been affected. But when you’re a politician, you have to make decisions based on the context. There, if we see studies that show that there are fewer cars on the roads than before, that means that the situation has changed. This may explain why we are reviewing the promise.

Unfortunately, politicians often make commitments they cannot keep. They don’t have a magic wand or superpower that allows them to control everything so that the promise can be fulfilled.

Yes, we must try to hold them. But it all depends on their importance. Let’s say that there are small and big promises.

For example, a child promises you that tomorrow he will give you half of his snack. If he does not keep his promise, the consequences are not very serious.

On the other hand, if a friend says to you “promise me to keep this secret”, and he tells you about a dangerous situation, for example that he is the victim of violence… There, there are risks of serious consequences for him. This is a good reason to break the promise and talk to a trusted adult.

Indeed, in certain situations beyond our control, we understand that it is sometimes necessary to give up the promise or to modify it.

Take the example of this cartoon:

In this illustration, we see that the father kept his promise to go camping, despite the terrible weather. He could also have said to his children, “It’s pouring rain, we’ll postpone camping until another weekend.” »

We have to communicate with the person, recognize our faults. For example, we can tell him that we are sad to have hurt him, that we value his friendship, that we want to find a solution. Then, you have to accept that it may take time. Gradually, the person will perhaps agree to trust us again.

Yes ! Avoid over-promising and unnecessarily disappointing people. Maybe we can find other words. You can say “I’ll try”, “it’s important to me”, or “I’ll do everything I can”.

Governments go to great lengths to encourage girls to study in more “masculine” fields, such as science or computer science. The problem is that politicians do not pay enough attention to boys… Yet many of them have difficulties at school. Now is the time to act, say three researchers!

In the past, it was very difficult for girls to study at university. This is because society has long encouraged women to stay home to care for children.

In Canada and many other countries, things have changed a lot! Over the past few decades, the number of girls studying at university has steadily increased. In 1950, women made up about 23% of students at Canadian universities. Today they are around 61%!

Girls are therefore more likely than boys to graduate from post-secondary education. That’s not all: at all grade levels, they often have better grades than them… except in mathematics.

Three Quebec researchers specializing in education have attempted to answer this question in a new book.

“The challenge is to intervene during pregnancy so that inequalities are not created,” says researcher Catherine Haeck. According to her, it is necessary to ensure that all pregnant women receive the necessary help.

If nothing is done, we see that from the first years of life, girls get ahead of boys: on average, they develop language and other skills faster.

“It’s not normal that from the age of 5 you see differences between girls and boys,” says Catherine Haeck. And the more the years pass, the more the inequalities widen. As a result, boys are denied access to the study programs they are interested in because they do not have sufficient grades.

The three scientists believe that the governments of Canada and Quebec should invest more money in aid programs for children. Identify those who are struggling as early as possible and support them.

As an example of a solution, researcher Richard E. Tremblay cites a program he founded that provides academic support to first and second graders. According to him, this initiative has enabled many children to do well in school, while reducing the risk of them falling into crime.

Although this program works, it has not been extended to all schools. That’s the problem, says researcher Catherine Haeck: governments need to make sure they give all children the same chance.

“It shouldn’t be just the boys, there are of course girls in difficulty, but by helping everyone, you help the boys,” says Ms. Haeck.

Spring brings us lots of beautiful things… but for some people, it’s also the start of seasonal allergies and sneezing!

Have you ever felt your nostrils tickle you more and more until you yelled “Achoum!” ? If so, it’s possible that someone answered “your wishes”. This is what is said to be polite when someone sneezes. But where does this tradition come from? It goes back hundreds of years.

A long time ago, in the Middle Ages, there was an epidemic of plague in Europe. It is a contagious and fatal disease. People sneezed often.

Then they started saying “Bless you” so that the sick could make their last wishes come true before they died.

When a person sneezes, air suddenly comes out of their nose and mouth. In some countries, it was believed that the soul could take advantage of this to fly away from the body. So we would say a phrase similar to “Bless you” to protect the person who had just sneezed.

Obviously, these are only beliefs or superstitions. A superstition is when you believe in things that aren’t true or can’t be scientifically proven to be good (or bad) luck. For example, a well-known superstition is that if you break a mirror, you’ll live seven years of bad luck.

Today, even though most people don’t believe all that anymore, we still say, “Bless you.” We say it rather out of habit, or to wish good health. Basically, it’s a nice way to say, “I wish you good health!” »

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? If so, you are told, “Bless you!” »

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