Philippe Couillard officially becomes Quebec premier. Quebec has a Liberal government again and its leader, Couillard, was sworn in Wednesday afternoon. The Liberal leader also named his cabinet. Lise Theriault will be deputy premier and public security minister, while Carlos Leitao, a rookie politician with a background as a banking economist, will be finance minister. Quebec’s new premier takes over after a divisive and, at times, downright dirty campaign that saw PQ leader Pauline Marois and her party soundly defeated. Next up for Couillard: a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Quebec on Thursday. Harper will certainly be happy to see a federalist leader at the helm in the province.
Party at the Harper residence?! One thing Harper will not be pleased about is a report that says paramedics were called to the Prime Minister’s home on Sunday to deal with a severely intoxicated 18-year-old woman. The Globe and Mail reports that the person paramedics treated is not a member of the Harper family, but a friend. Ben Harper, the couple’s eldest child, turns 18 this year. The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19 (though its 18 just across the border in Quebec). A message for Canadian parents: take solace in the fact that raising teens is a challenge, even if you’re the prime minister.
Get ready for a gas price spike. Gasoline prices across the country did their annual spring jump Wednesday, but the spike in prices was even greater than usual, with an average price above $1.37/litre across the country. Montreallers have it the worst, seeing nearly an eight-cent hike between Tuesday and Wednesday to bring prices around $1.53/litre. Factors affecting the price include the lower Canadian dollar and lower-than-usual gasoline reserves in refineries due to a cold winter. The good news: drivers could see some relief in time for the May long weekend, analysts predict. Until then, maybe it’s time to dust off that bicycle.
Jeb Bush admits he may be planning a run for president. Jeb Bush, brother to former president George W., confirmed that he is “digesting” a presidential bid in 2016. The comments, made at a closed-door fundraising event in New York for Catholic schools, is his most direct statement on the matter so far. Should Jeb make it real, he’ll be a top contender. “We now consider Bush the leader of the field if he decides to run,” a spokesman for the University of Virginia’s Institute of Politics told Maclean’s Washington Correspondent Luiza Ch. Savage. But, is the U.S. ready for President Bush No. 3? Savage looks at that question in more detail over here.
Honouring war criminals not cool, Biebes. Justin Bieber was forced to make a public apology after visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan this week, a shrine which honours 14 Japanese leaders who committed atrocities against the Chinese and others in Asia during WWII. Both Chinese and South Korean fans were quick to take offence to the visit, especially after Bieber posted pictures of it on his Instagram account. Bieber later deleted the photos and posted a message saying he asked his driver to pull over so he could look at a beautiful shrine, not knowing what it stood for. “To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry,” he wrote. “I love you China and I love you Japan.”