• Liberals changed relationship with premiers, but then things changed again
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Liberals changed relationship with premiers, but then things changed again

    OTTAWA — The Liberals and New Democrats are both making promises that would need some co-operation from the provinces to become reality, at a time when powerful premiers have made it clear they see their relationship with Ottawa headed in a very different direction.Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that a re-elected Liberal government would work with the provinces and territories to increase the benefit paid to surviving spouses through the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan by 25 per cent.That need to hammer things out with other levels of government might seem like a small detail, but it's a reminder of how much things changed in the relationship between Ottawa and the provinces when the Liberals came to power, and then how much they have changed again since.Stephen Harper met only twice with the premiers as a group during his time as Conservative prime minister, the last time being in 2009 to discuss the global economic crisis. He preferred to deal with them and their causes — or complaints — one at a time.The premiers demanded a more collaborative relationship and Trudeau promised to deliver just that, arranging to sit down with his fellow first ministers to discuss climate change in November 2015, mere weeks after swearing in his cabinet.The regular gatherings were friendly enough at first, helped along by how closely aligned Kathleen Wynne, then the Liberal premier of Ontario, was with the Trudeau government, on major priorities, including carbon pricing as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Quebec was led by Liberal Philippe Couillard and Alberta's Rachel Notley, a New Democrat, also had an outlook not too different from Trudeau's.Not everything was smooth sailing, but the Liberals eventually managed to get everyone except Saskatchewan to sign on to a framework on carbon pricing, and negotiated a new decade-long health accord.They also worked out a deal with the provinces, excluding Quebec, to enhance the Canada Pension Plan, by increasing contributions gradually beginning this year, while boosting benefits for retirees on the other end.The pensions promise Trudeau is making in this campaign, while not as broad, comes in a very different context.Newer conservative premiers such as Doug Ford in Ontario and Jason Kenney in Alberta, among others, have been opposing the federal carbon tax and otherwise showing they are not eager to co-operate.The Liberals are not expecting to face the same kind of opposition to enhancing the survivor's benefit as they did to the carbon tax, but the frustration Trudeau appeared to express at the general state of things on Wednesday still shows the amount of discord around the table."People are choosing premiers who are choosing to use millions of dollars of your money to fight a concrete plan, to fight climate change in the courts," he said at a campaign stop in Fredericton, "instead of figuring out to how to work with us to build a better future in which we can have a stronger environment and make life more affordable for all Canadians."Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh promised to extend full public dental coverage to those whose household incomes are less than $70,000 year — billed as a move toward eventually including dentistry in universal public health care.Singh said the NDP "denticare" plan, which would also include partial coverage for households with incomes between $70,000 and $90,000, was designed to be fully paid for by the federal government.It is clear, though, that the NDP views this initial program as a stopgap.As with the original creation of the public health care system, adding dental care to public coverage would require a long series of negotiations with the provinces and territories.Singh hinted at those conversations to come when he said he hoped that by relieving the provinces of some of the burden, they would start looking at how they could expand their own existing programs that subsidize dental care."We don't have control over those provincial programs," Singh said in Sudbury, Ont. "They are good starts, but they don't go far enough."Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also faced questions Wednesday about how he would handle federal-provincial relations, specifically with Quebec.On Tuesday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault issued a list of demands to the federal party leaders, asking for his province to have greater control over immigration, tax collection and language regulation.Scheer said he is willing to work on eliminating federal-provincial duplication of labour market opinions for temporary foreign workers, which sometimes slow things down, and committed to changes that would see Quebecers file only one income tax return.Quebec currently requires its residents to file separate tax forms, but is willing to combine them if Quebec gets to handle both the federal and provincial systems.Scheer said he would also be prepared to stand up for his promised national energy corridor, even if it means having to assert federal jurisdiction over any opposition to pipelines that would run through Quebec."We have respect for provincial areas of jurisdiction and the other side of that coin is we also have respect for federal jurisdiction," said Scheer in Hamilton on Wednesday.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2019.Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press

  • Conservatives will review business subsidies in effort to save $1.5 billion
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Conservatives will review business subsidies in effort to save $1.5 billion

    HAMILTON — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Wednesday he will start to pay for his promised $9 billion in tax cuts and program spending by finding a way to cut $1.5 billion from annual subsidies to Canadian corporations.Scheer spent most of Wednesday campaigning at small businesses in Hamilton and Richmond Hill, Ont., trying to drill home his campaign theme to help the little guy rather than the rich and well-connected. He went first to a barbershop and later to a Chinese bakery."Hard-working Canadians are rightly offended when they see their tax dollars going to further the interests of the wealthy and well-connected friends while Justin Trudeau makes them pay more for gasoline, groceries, and home heating," Scheer said.He said a Conservative government will review all federal business subsidies and eliminate economic-development programs in which the funds benefit shareholders, corporate executives, foreign companies, lobbyists or consultants. Those subsidies and programs total $7 billion now, he said, scattered among numerous departments.The Conservatives would protect regional economic-development agencies, however, and make sure they're administered by ministers from those regions. They'd also give support to "strategic industries," such as aerospace, if the money stays in the country and creates or protects jobs.He cited a $12-million subsidy the government gave for grocery giant Loblaw to buy more energy-efficient coolers as one example of an expense Conservatives wouldn't support.Scheer said the Conservatives would have never spent federal funds in other ways the Liberals have, including $220 million to buy energy-efficient gas turbines for the Canada LNG project in British Columbia, and the $4.5-billion purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline.He also is gunning for what he called the $35-billion "boondoggle-in-waiting" Canada Infrastructure Bank. The bank is meant to use federal money to spark private investments in things like new highways, bridges and water systems, helping to find projects that could eventually spin off revenue to pay those investments back.The Tories submitted the promise to the parliamentary budget officer, as they have others; the office said this is not the type of proposal the office can assess.This is the first announcement Scheer has made in the week-old campaign in which he's talked about cutting government spending rather than forgoing revenue. The Conservatives have thus far pledged tax credits, cuts and grants exceeding $9 billion, which Scheer has said he will pay for by having different priorities from the Liberal government.John Lester, a former federal government economist who now works as an executive fellow at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, said in a 2018 paper that there were about $14 billion in federal government business subsidies in 2014-15. The paper said Ottawa and the four largest provinces in Canada provided $29 billion in subsidies through program spending, mostly through the tax system, with Alberta leading the way at $600 per capita corporate handouts.The total amount was about half of what the provinces and Ottawa collected in corporate income taxes.The federal government has been promising under both the former Conservative government and the recent Liberal one to cancel federal fossil fuel subsidies — worth more than $3.3 billion a year — as part of a pledge of all G20 nations to do so. Despite the decade-old promise that Canada has recommitted to every year since, the subsidies have not been cut.Canada recently joined with Argentina to conduct peer reviews of each other subsidies in a bid to figure out the path to eliminating them.On Wednesday evening, Scheer knocked on doors in Etobicoke, the Toronto neighbourhood known as Ford country for being the home of Doug Ford, and his late brother, Rob. A woman who said her name was Faith, approached Scheer carrying a poster demanding help for her child with autism, and criticizing Premier Doug Ford, whose recent plan to cut autism funding in the province was met with a massive outcry and helped lead to his declining popularity.Ford has been noticeably absent from campaigning with Scheer, even in his own backyard. Scheer handled the protester with respect and told her he would have an announcement on autism later in the campaign.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2019.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

  • Alberta inquiry into oil and gas foes could face legal challenge from Ecojustice
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Alberta inquiry into oil and gas foes could face legal challenge from Ecojustice

    CALGARY — An environmental law group is threatening legal action if the Alberta government's inquiry into foreign funding of oil and gas industry foes continues as is. Vancouver-based Ecojustice has given inquiry commissioner Steve Allan 30 days to respond to a letter detailing its concerns and proposing ways to address some of them."It is Ecojustice's submission that the inquiry is ill-conceived, promulgated for purely political purposes and does not meet the test of expediency or being in the public interest," lawyers Barry Robinson and Kurt Stilwell write in the letter dated Tuesday.The $2.5-million inquiry in its current form is "unlawful and potentially unconstitutional," they argue.Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, often citing the work of Vancouver writer Vivian Krause, has repeatedly accused U.S. charities of bankrolling efforts to block Canadian energy in a concerted "campaign of lies and defamation."The inquiry is one plank of the United Conservative government's strategy to fight back against critics of Alberta's oil and gas industry, which has struggled to get its product to markets as new pipelines are mired in delays.Ecojustice says in the letter there's a reasonable apprehension that the inquiry will be biased against the groups it's investigating. It says Kenney's public comments — as well as the wording of the inquiry's terms of reference — prejudge the outcome and label environmental campaigns as "anti-Alberta."The group also says the inquiry risks violating rights to freedom of expression and association protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Ecojustice adds that the inquiry must be procedurally fair, meaning anyone called before it must be able to cross-examine witnesses and receive copies of documents submitted as evidence, among other things.It's proposing amendments to the inquiry's terms of reference that would fix some of those issues.The public inquiry is meant to shed a spotlight on the "foreign-funded campaign to landlock Alberta energy," Kenney said Wednesday. "Why are these groups so agitated by that? What are they afraid of? What are they trying to hide?" he said during a teleconference call from New York City, where he is promoting Alberta to U.S. investors.He said he hadn't read the Ecojustice letter, but added that it sounded like a "regurgitation of the laughable letter from Amnesty International last week," in which the global human rights group's Canadian branch said it was "deeply concerned" with Alberta's fight-back strategy. "I understand why these groups are hyperventilating. They have been able, for over a decade, to engage in a systematic campaign to defame Alberta's responsible energy production without transparency, without any pushback. The sort of letters we're getting now ... confirm that we are on exactly the right track."Kenney's press secretary later sent media a link to Ecojustice's tax returns filed with the Canada Revenue Agency in which it discloses how much of its revenue comes from foreign sources. Last year, it received just over $1 million from outside Canada — about 14 per cent of its total annual revenue during the period.Allan, the commissioner, is a forensic and restructuring accountant with more than 40 years of experience. His ability to compel witness testimony and records is limited to Alberta, but Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer has said much of the information Allan needs is publicly available. He'll be able to travel outside Alberta to gather more.The inquiry's first phase is to focus on fact-finding. Public hearings are to follow if necessary. Allan is to deliver his final report to the government next summer.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2019.— With files from Dean Bennett in EdmontonLauren Krugel, The Canadian PressNote to readers: CORRECTS the use of association in para 8

  • 40 years for Bissonnette is too long, defence says. Crown says it's not long enough
    News
    CBC

    40 years for Bissonnette is too long, defence says. Crown says it's not long enough

    The Quebec City mosque shooter's sentence of 40 years without parole is unconstitutionally long, according to Alexandre Bissonnette's defence, but prosecutors say it's not long enough.Both legal teams have filed for appeal and the reasons for appeal have since been submitted, outlining each side's argument against the sentence.Bissonnette, 29, was sentenced in Superior Court last February after he pleaded guilty to killing six men and seriously wounding five others in January 2017. The defence and prosecutors had 30 days to appeal.The deadline for filing reasons for appeal was last week. Prosecutors filed on time, but the defence was delayed until Wednesday morning.The defence says a law established in 2011 that allows judges to hand down back-to-back sentences without the eligibility of parole is unconstitutional. It is too long to spend behind bars, they say.They also say there is no proof the previous system of re-assessing prisoners every 25 years wasn't working.The defence says the judge exaggerated the "hateful" nature of the crime and that Bissonnette was acting out of "rage" built up over years.The defence says Bissonnette chose a target he deemed "more acceptable" because of his mental state — imagining that he might rid the world of a "terrorist" when he took his guns to a house of worship.When filing Bissonnette's appeal in March, lawyers Jean-Claude Gingras and Charles-Olivier Gosselin said the judge erred in applying a 40-year sentence before the shooter would be eligible for parole. They called it "illegal."The appeal seeks to have the sentence reduced to a minimum of 25 years served before Bissonnette is eligible for parole.Crown wants stiffer sentenceCrown prosecutors, on the other hand, filed their reasons for appeal last week, several hours ahead of the deadline. They are insisting on a stiffer sentence.They say the judge who put Bissonnette behind bars for 40 years made several mistakes in a judgment they consider too lenient.The Crown will argue that the judge should never have assumed Bissonnette would die in prison if he were sentenced to 50 years before being eligible for parole.The prosecution will also argue Bissonnette's mental health issues were over-represented in the ruling  because Bissonnette had acted with a clear mind when he shot the first two men he encountered, point-blank like a "hitman."The Crown had recommended a 150-year prison sentence made up of consecutive 25-year periods, which would have been the longest ever handed down in Canadian history.Justice François Huot rejected this idea, arguing that a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Sentences that exceed an offender's life expectancy and offer no reasonable hope of release are "grossly disproportionate and totally incompatible with human dignity,'' he wrote in his 246-page decision.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Charges stayed against RCMP officer who killed man in Surrey, B.C.

    VICTORIA — Charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon have been stayed against an RCMP officer who shot a man nine times during a confrontation in Surrey, B.C.Documents released by British Columbia's prosecution service say while evidence shows Const. Elizabeth Cucheran fired the shots at 20-year-old Hudson Brooks, the law is clear that even the mistaken belief in the need to use lethal force is a complete defence.The service says Brooks had consumed significant quantities of alcohol and cocaine when he was in the parkade at the Surrey RCMP detachment on July 18, 2015.It says Brooks was shoeless and wearing only boxer shorts, and screamed "Kill you! Kill me! Kill you!" as he used his fists, knees and shoulder to hammer at the driver's door and windows of an officer's SUV.The prosecution service says when other officers confronted Brooks, he charged Cucheran, who stepped backwards while firing at him until she tripped and Brooks fell at her feet then crawled on top of her.It says Cucheran fired her weapon 12 times, hitting Brooks nine times and shot herself in the leg while she was on her back.Initially, the Crown concluded that the shots the officer fired weren't legally justifiable."While there was no doubt she was entitled to use some degree of force to defend herself as Mr. Brooks approached, the Crown was satisfied she was not entitled to resort to lethal force as soon as she did," the prosecution service says in a statement.But it said the evidence brought out at a preliminary inquiry significantly weakened the foundation of the Crown theory that a Taser provided a reasonable force option for the officer to use to try to stop Brooks.It said testimony at the preliminary inquiry from experts meant the Crown was unable to prove that Cucheran's failure to use the Taser when Brooks initially attacked her resulted from "any blameworthy conduct" on her part."The Crown is now of the view that the evidence strongly establishes that resort to her firearm was entirely reasonable in the circumstances."The prosecution service said it recognizes the case has attracted considerable public attention."The (service) also appreciates the importance of transparency in maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice, especially in relation to the use of lethal force by police officers."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2019.The Canadian Press

  • Coming clean: With sobriety comes hard truths and isolation, but also triumphs, say Sask. parents
    News
    CBC

    Coming clean: With sobriety comes hard truths and isolation, but also triumphs, say Sask. parents

    The story of Chester Herman's first drink is a familiar one in the Prairies, where many consider a person's first sip of alcohol to be a rite of passage and an act of celebration.He was 15. His sister-in-law had just graduated from high school. Someone handed him a glass of champagne."I started with a weekend thing, and then from a weekend thing it turned into an almost everyday thing," Herman told CBC.Between the ages of 17 and 19, he drank alcohol almost daily.Herman said drinking was seen by the people around his home community of La Loche, Sask., as "something to do," but was fuelled by anger and resentment many in the northern village felt after going through residential schools and the government-sanctioned breakup of Indigenous families."There was really no one to talk to because the people that were giving the services of treatment and stuff were white people. So there were trust issues," he said.Herman and others across the province have taken to Facebook during September to share their sobriety stories.Some call it Sober September, a call to put down the bottle for 30 days.For Herman, it's Recovery Month — a chance to look back at the nine years since he used his son as inspiration to break free of the grip alcohol once held on his life.'It felt like everyone abandoned me'When Herman's son Edward Turner was born, he decided to get sober.Away from La Loche, which Herman said some call "the town that never sleeps, because all hours of night you have people out," he stayed away from booze for four years.When he returned home after his relationship with his son's mother dissolved, family members and old friends started coming around to drink and his sobriety fell apart.In 2010, Herman took custody of Turner, and decided he wanted to fully commit to being a role model to his son. This time, sobriety stuck but people who continued the drinking lifestyle didn't stick around."When I sobered up, it felt like everyone abandoned me," he said.To deal with the isolation, Herman found healthier ways to spend his time.He started mentoring young people whom he taught carpentry at the Gabriel Dumont Institute.In 2012, he successfully ran for regional director with the local branch of the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan.He's not the only one who has weathered isolation and the emotions that come with trying to get sober.Addiction and traumaSara Daniels doesn't remember her first drink, but she knows that by 12 years old she preferred vodka.The vodka, combined with pills, were a way for Daniels to hide.She had been sexually abused as a child. Racked with shame and the feeling that she deserved it, she didn't tell her family.Daniels didn't experience the innocent transition from childhood to adulthood she saw others in her home city of Prince Albert have: sports, high school dances, crushes."I went right into adulthood," she said.She masked the emotions associated with the sexual trauma she'd experienced as a child with alcohol, cocaine and other drugs.Daniels found herself in a cycle of being sexually traumatized and raped in her teens and drinking and doing more drugs in response.She quit drinking and doing drugs cold turkey at 21 after finding out she was pregnant, but she never dealt with the root causes of her addiction. She went back to drinking and drugs after giving birth.Over time, Daniels came to realize the environment she was raising her children in — loud fights, people passed out around the house, piles of bottles — was unhealthy. She decided to get sober.It took years for her to fully break the cycle with drugs. Alcohol took even longer.Anxiety and depression would sink in when she wasn't under the influence. Daniels talked to her family and made sure they were available for her to talk to while she got sober.There were relapses. The urge to drink during stressful times is still "so strong," she said.She found healing in talking about her childhood trauma and the way things spiralled."It wasn't until I was about 30 when I started getting sober and realizing I'm worth something and this is not how I'm supposed to be treated," she said."I didn't deserve this."Social circlesLike Herman, Daniels had to change her whole social setting to start fresh.She stopped drinking while living in Saskatoon rather than Prince Albert.Her advice for people whose friends are getting sober is to stop and think before they invite them out. Bars and parties are a no-no. Comments like, "Oh come out and be my D.D. [designated driver] or come out and you don't have to drink" are not helpful, she said, because you're asking a sober person to go into an environment they have trouble with.Daniels says an invite to the movies is a good alternative.It's been six years since Daniels last drank, and, aside from a relapse involving one shot of hard liquor, nine years for Herman.Herman said people in the community look up to him as a role model for how to be sober.While comments like "this looks good on you" show him that people are proud of him, he said his success is being there to see his son's accomplishments, such as when Turner made the honour roll year after year and when he graduated from high school.Daniels takes the most pride from what she has provided for her children."They're so happy. Their home, that's their safe place and they know it," she said. "If one of their friends is having trouble, they come over."

  • Belleville hospital sees opioid prescriptions plunge
    News
    CBC

    Belleville hospital sees opioid prescriptions plunge

    Belleville General Hospital has reduced the number of opioid prescriptions it issues by more than one-third, and they've done it one surgery at a time.Prescriptions for powerful painkillers at the eastern Ontario hospital have dropped 36 per cent  since April.Kristina Cruess, a registered nurse and surgical program director for Quinte Health Care, said the hospital identified one type of operation in each department — general surgery, orthopedics, gynecology and urology — and came up with new drug standards that don't involve opioids.Cruess said it all starts with a clear conversation with patients about what level of pain they can expect after their surgery. "Setting expectations is a very critical part of the success of this," she told CBC's All In A Day.  Pain meds often unnecessaryCruess said research shows most patients don't need as much pain medication as they're prescribed."The majority of patients did not complete their entire prescription," she said.  She said each department identified one surgery and then came up with a standard prescription, along with educational material for patients and tools to manage their own pain."The target was to have 75 per cent of the patients having that surgery receive that [standard prescription]," Cruess said.  Surgeons on boardSurgeons at the hospital were on board, she said."We started with education up front, brought in guest speakers, showed them the local data, and everyone is aware of this global crisis." After the initial success, Cruess said doctors are now starting to look at other surgeries where standard prescriptions might be a better option for patients."It's really something quite small in the grand scheme of the whole surgical program, but the effects of it can be so tremendous."

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Space bits: Scientists confident they know where meteor over Alberta shed pieces

    EDMONTON — It streaked across the sky but people in central Alberta are being urged to keep their eyes trained on the ground.Scientists at the University of Alberta are still searching for meteorites from a fireball that lit up the sky southeast of Edmonton on Aug. 31.A team from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences worked with scientists at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, to narrow a potential landing zone to an area southwest of Camrose, about 95 kilometres from Edmonton.Prof. Chris Herd says he and his co-workers are confident the space bits are scattered around, even though none has been found yet.The university is sharing tips on how to identify a meteorite, and reminding searchers that pieces found on public right of ways belong to the finder, while those discovered on private land belong to the landowner.Herd and his co-workers are eager to find and study any of the meteorites, which he estimates could weigh about one kilogram each.“Every newly fallen meteorite is like a spacecraft bringing a sample back from an asteroid or another planet. It’s a chance to study a nearly pristine sample from space,” Herd, who is also curator of the University of Alberta Meteorite Collection, said in a release. (CTV Edmonton)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2019.The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Fire damages P.E.I. federal candidate's office

    The office of a Conservative candidate in the upcoming federal election sustained damage in an early morning fire in Montague Wednesday.The Montague Fire Department got a call for a fire at Wayne Phelan's office at 518 Main St. around 4:20 a.m., says Montague fire Chief Tom MacLeod.There were four trucks and about 22 firefighters that responded to the call, MacLeod said."It wasn't too bad, it started on the outside and it was burning up the front," he said.Most of the damage is outside the building, but there is some smoke damage inside, MacLeod said.MacLeod said the glass windows on the front of the office burst when they were hit with water."Inside was fine, but I am not sure they are using it or not," MacLeod said.No one was at the office at the time and there were no injuries from the fire, MacLeod said.The office is part of a strip mall, MacLeod said, and firefighters alerted some of the other shops and ventilated the stores."I don't know how much smoke damage they suffered," MacLeod said.In an email statement to CBC, Phelan said the office is being moved to 12 MacDonald Rd.More P.E.I. news

  • Brad Pitt and James Gray take a giant leap with 'Ad Astra'
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Brad Pitt and James Gray take a giant leap with 'Ad Astra'

    VENICE, Italy — Brad Pitt made the first move with James Gray.In 1995, he saw Gray's debut "Little Odessa" and decided to call up the young filmmaker behind the grim Brooklyn crime drama. They've been talking ever since — about films, life and working together. But it would take almost 25 years for the stars to finally align, fittingly, for an ambitious, original space odyssey called "Ad Astra" that opens in theatres nationwide Friday."It's a gutsy film," Pitt said last month. The 55-year-old both produced and stars in the story about an astronaut who ventures almost entirely alone into the outer reaches of space to investigate a disturbance that may be tied to his missing father. It's something Gray had been working on for years.Pitt's choice of the word "gutsy" is appropriate, not just as a description of the film and its exploration of big themes like masculinity with the grand canvas of space as its backdrop, but in talking about the fact that it exists at all. Not many studios and production companies are handing over $80 million for original ideas anymore. That Pitt's Plan B, New Regency and 20th Century Fox banded together to make "Ad Astra" happen is, Gray said, "Beyond rare...It's a big risk."Pitt, sitting next to his director, chimed in: "It's why studios have veered away from them. They're a big gamble: The cost, the prints and advertising. It's why they have to take safer bets."The business has changed so much that Gray doubts that "Ad Astra" would even be made today. But three years ago the two decided to take a leap on this big idea to make an epic set in the near future that Gray likes to call "science-fact-fiction." Gray was fascinated by the type of personality that's required for space travel and that Neil Armstrong, upon returning to Earth from the Apollo 11 mission talked only about the logistics and facts — nothing metaphysical or contemplative."Deflection," Pitt said. "I do it all the time."Not that Pitt isn't introspective about his work. He said he was drawn to the idea of the "dark night of the soul. When one is really forced to address their self and the things we carry and most likely bury, congenital griefs, regrets, those personal pains and to come out the other side, hopefully, embracing those is the way to becoming whole.""It was something on my mind as well," Pitt said.And his performance is a standout that critics and awards observers have taken note of, on top of his acclaimed work earlier this summer in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.""He is a fabulous actor," Gray said. "And there aren't that many fabulous actors with mucho charisma in the world."Pitt disagrees with his friend, but he is happy to keep working."I so believe in being creative and want to be creative till it's all said and done, until someone pulls the plug on me," Pitt said.Part of that involves throwing his production company's weight behind ambitious, original projects, some of which work out and go on to win Oscars and steer the cultural conversation ("12 Years a Slave," ''Moonlight"), and some that don't. Plan B produced Gray's last film, "The Lost City of Z," a period adventure film about explorer Percy Fawcett, which never played on more than 1,000 theatres, nor made back its $30 million production budget."Ad Astra" has already seen a bit of turbulence before its release. It was one the Fox films that is now being released by Disney after it acquired the rival studio, causing "Ad Astra's" release date to shift a few times."It's like worrying about the alignment of the planets. It's so past your pay grade," said Gray, who was finishing the film when the deal was happening. "Was I worried? No, because I can't do anything about it. I just thought, 'Well that's weird.' But I will say in one small respect I disagree with Brad on this. I do think that one company controlling 40% of the theatrical market in the world is a dangerous proposition. That's almost a monopoly. So to the degree that means fewer films, fewer, fewer chances to make this kind of film, that's a source of some concern."Pitt has also been asking big questions like if "film as an art form is going to last" when the two start riffing about whether they have the same staying power today."If I say to you 'I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse,' you know what I just did, right?" Gray asked. "Can you quote me a line from 'Avatar?'"Pitt's response? He loves "Avatar."But Gray has a bigger argument: "It's visually spectacular, but it's a different form of the medium. And if we lose 'I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse,' then we lose something big."By this point, Pitt had wandered over to the massive window in the room and was snapping photos of the beach and water outside when he started to laugh to himself. He said he was thinking about the lasting quotes that have come from his own career and spit-balled a few, like "What's in the box?" from "Seven," and "Don't condescend me, man," from "True Romance."Nothing, he concluded, had the weight of Marlon Brando's line from "The Godfather.""Well you know what Francois Truffaut said," Gray asked. "He said cinema has to be part truth, part spectacle."Pitt paused and thought about it: "Now we either have all spectacle or all truth."The hope is that "Ad Astra" is a bit of both.___Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahrLindsey Bahr, The Associated Press

  • News
    CBC

    Canada's Erica Wiebe reeling after last-second, quarter-final loss at wrestling worlds

    Erica Wiebe of Stittsville, Ont., was visibly upset following Wednesday's quarter-final loss in the dying seconds at the world wrestling championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.The 2016 Olympian led 3-1 on points with fewer than five seconds remaining, but Epp Maee of Estonia scored a takedown before time ran out to prevail 4-3 in the 76-kilogram bout."When you train so hard and you make mistakes mentally, you don't wrestle for the full six minutes, that's what happens," Wiebe said."This year, I've gone through a lot of challenges, mentally, physically, emotionally. I honestly thought I was going to be better than that today."Wiebe, who won a bronze medal at the senior Pan American championships in April, had defeated Aiperi Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan 5-0 in the 1/8 final, and Hungary's Zsanett Nemeth 5-1 in the qualification round.Wiebe, 30, still has a chance to secure a spot for Canada at the 2020 Olympics at the Pan Am Olympic qualifying tournament or world Olympic qualifier, assuming she wins at Canadian trials in December, according to Wrestling Canada.Meanwhile, Canada's Linda Morais advanced to Thursday`s 59 kg final in the after a 3-1 defeat of Mongolia's Shoovdor Baatarjav 3-1.2-time world university champ"It's so surreal, I'm so excited," said Morais, who will meet Liubov Ovcharova of Russia in the final. "This year has been amazing so far and I'm hoping to end it with gold. It was a tough match, physically I felt OK, but mentally it was such a challenge."Going match after match against incredible opponents is so tough."Morais also beat Tetiana Omelchenko of Azerbaijan and Ukraine's Anhelina Lysak on Tuesday.A two-time world university champion, Morais also won bronze at 60 kg at the 2016 world championships.In other matches Wednesday: * Jade Parsons of Orillia, Ont., lost 6-2 to Russian Olga Khoroshavtseva in a 55 kg repechage, preventing her from fighting in the bronze-medal bout. * Hannah Taylor (57 kg) of Cornwall, P.E.I., and Jessica Brouillette (65 kg) of Barrie, Ont., also were eliminated from medal contention.

  • Pilot project aims to curtail drive-thru traffic snarls in Fredericton
    News
    CBC

    Pilot project aims to curtail drive-thru traffic snarls in Fredericton

    Coffee and doughnuts are about to get a lot more expensive for the City of Fredericton. Drivers lining up for their daily Double Doubles at Fredericton's Tim Hortons on Main Street have been blocking the busy north-side intersection at Wallace Avenue. At a transportation committee meeting this week, councillors voted to build a "turnaround" at the south end of Wallace Avenue to prevent long lineups that trickle onto Main Street and halt traffic. The project is expected to cost up to $40,000 and will get underway this fall. "These lines are getting longer and longer," said Sean Lee, the city's assistant director of engineering and operations."At one point in time, you may have seen a queue of five or six cars. Now you see a queue of cars that [is] substantially longer." Banning left turns Once the structure is built, left turns into Tim Hortons would be against the law. "What we're seeing is people who are lining up for Tim Hortons, are queuing back on Wallace Avenue and then queuing back actually onto Main Street and blocking off Main Street."The new turnaround will help traffic move south to the end of Wallace Street, through the turnaround and back north to the Tim Hortons drive-thru."With this particular location, there was an option that was available that could help us try something," Lee said. "And we're trying this as a pilot to see if it's effective and hopefully it works."Not just a Fredericton problem Lee said the traffic jams are also having an impact on businesses in the area, including Fredericton Home Hardware on Main Street.He suggested traffic problems connected with the location of Tim Hortons outlets aren't unique to Fredericton. "I think this is a national-level issue," he said."Tim Hortons in drive-thrus across the country are experiencing situations like this."Fredericton recently banned left turns off Regent Street into the Tim Hortons downtown because of a backup in traffic. "People are interested in getting their coffees," Lee said.

  • News
    CBC

    Stratford's $10.9M sewage project expected to begin this fall

    The Town of Stratford announced Wednesday it has awarded the tender for its waste-water treatment project.Tenders had been issued twice before, but bids exceeded the town's budget, so changes were made to the design with the aim of reducing cost, a news release said. This time, the provincial work required to stabilize the embankment and upgrade the structure was also included in a combined tender."We are extremely happy to be moving forward on this important project," said Stratford Mayor Steve Ogden, in the release. The town's revised budget for the project is $10.9 million, of which $8.6 million is included in the tender.The remaining $2.2 million will be used for the engineering tendering and decommission of the lagoon system once a new pumping station and piping have been commissioned in the fall of 2020. Revised tenderThe town said the revised tender attracted three bidders for the project, within budget. Birch Hill Construction has been awarded the work. The Town of Stratford is contributing about $2.7 million for the project, with the federal and provincial governments providing the rest through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The project was originally announced in the spring of 2017, with a budget of about $8.9 million. A total of $10.9 million in funding was made available, with 50 per cent coming from the federal government and 25 per cent each from the province and the town. Work on the project is expected to get underway this fall with the aim of finishing in the fall of 2020. Once the project is complete, the town will decommission the lagoons with the intention of turning the area into green space. More P.E.I. news

  • News
    CBC

    Tailgating? More like 'Failgating,' says AMA

    Most Albertans don't recognize they're tailgating, so the Alberta Motor Association has launched an awareness campaign called "failgating."AMA vice-president Jeff Kasbrick says following too closely to someone is actually the top driver error that leads to collisions involving injuries or fatalities in the province. "We thought that it was really important given the safety issue that we begin to draw light on this issue and call tailgating what it really is and that's 'failgating,'" he said.According to an AMA survey, 63 per cent of drivers "often" or "always" witness other vehicles following too closely in traffic. Yet, when asked about their own habits, only two per cent admitted to tailgating on a regular basis."We all often believe that we're a safer and better driver than the person next to us. However, the problem is if everybody has that same attitude, then things begin to fall apart a little bit and unravel because we all are contributors to our driving communities," he said.He says "failgating" is caused by distractions, speeding and impatience."We're getting a little aggressive and perhaps we didn't leave home with enough time to get to our destination," he said.Kasbrick says drivers can reduce accidental tailgating by practising the three-second rule when following the car ahead of them. However, this rule needs to be adjusted to four to six seconds if motorists are driving in poor weather or at higher speeds.

  • Federal Election 2019: Scheer visits Richmond Hill, Ont. bakery
    Global News

    Federal Election 2019: Scheer visits Richmond Hill, Ont. bakery

    Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer visited Lucullus Bakery & Pastries in Richmond Hill, Ont., on a Sept. 18 campaign stop, where he helped bakery owner Stone Yu make Hong Kong buns.

  • U.S. central bank cuts interest rate for 2nd time this year
    News
    CBC

    U.S. central bank cuts interest rate for 2nd time this year

    After spending a decade on the sidelines, the U.S. central bank has cut its benchmark interest rate for a second time this summer, in a bid to stimulate the U.S. economy.The Federal Reserve lowered its key lending rate to a range of between 1.75 and 2 per cent on Wednesday, a reaction to an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, and recent tensions in the Middle East, casting doubt on the growth prospects for the world's largest economy.In July, the Fed made its first rate cut in more than a decade, and in doing so raised expectations it would follow with up to three additional cuts before the end of the year.Most economists have scaled back their expectations about how deep the Fed will cut since then, but at least one or two more cuts are still the most likely scenario.Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, who has been harshly criticized by Trump for not cutting rates sooner, will lay out the bank's line of thinking at a press conference following this afternoon's decision.

  • Author Graeme Gibson, longtime partner of Atwood, dead at 85
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Author Graeme Gibson, longtime partner of Atwood, dead at 85

    NEW YORK — Graeme Gibson, a Canadian novelist and conservationist and the longtime partner of Margaret Atwood, has died.Gibson's death was announced Wednesday by Doubleday, which has published both Gibson and Atwood. He was 85 and had been suffering from dementia. Atwood, whose novel "The Testaments" came out last week, said in a statement that she and other family members were "devastated" but also "grateful for his wise, ethical and committed life."Gibson wrote novels such as "Five Legs" and "Perpetual Motion," and he was active with numerous organizations, whether as president of PEN Canada or serving on the council of the World Wildlife Fund Canada. His nonfiction book "Eleven Canadian Novelists" included interviews with Atwood and Alice Munro.He had two sons with the publisher Shirley Gibson and a daughter with Atwood.The Associated Press

  • Chilliwack school board approves rainbow crosswalk in parking lot after heated debate
    News
    CBC

    Chilliwack school board approves rainbow crosswalk in parking lot after heated debate

    Chilliwack's board of education voted Tuesday evening to paint a rainbow crosswalk in the school district parking lot.The decision follows city council's rejection of a petition to install a rainbow walkway in the city's downtown on Sept. 3.However, the school board's vote wasn't unanimous and came after heated debate."You can't claim that you are inclusive and do nothing. That is just paying lip service," said board chair Dan Coulter, who introduced the motion."If we truly believe in what we say, we need to take action."He said painting a rainbow crosswalk in front of the board office would show that the board cares about all members of the community.However, several trustees raised concerns, including Barry Neufeld, who worried about the message it would send to their colleagues in city hall."It's almost as if we're giving a finger and basically overruling what they decided," said Neufeld, adding the crosswalk would strain relations.Trustee Jared Mumford countered Neufeld, saying it would be absurd for the board to worry about what city staff thinks over decisions made in the best interest of the district. "We don't care what the city thinks about our decisions," said Mumford. "We care about our staff and our students."'I don't know where this is going to stop'The debate's most passionate moments arose between trustee Heather Maahs and board vice-chair Willow Reichelt.Maahs argued a rainbow crosswalk would highlight the concerns of one group over others. She said it would be an insult to other marginalized groups like autistic, dyslexic and refugee students."I'm greatly troubled by where this is going and I don't know where this is going to stop," said Maahs.Reichelt — whose child has autism — strongly disagreed with Maahs' position, saying the crosswalk would send a message to everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, that Chilliwack is an inclusive community.And while she acknowledged she can't change the minds of community members who hold homophobic or transphobic views, she said she will "do everything [she] can to make sure their discriminatory beliefs aren't echoed by the board of education."In the end, the motion passed by a vote 4-3. The crosswalk is expected to cost the board just under $400.

  • News
    CBC

    Federal Green Party pledges investment in sustainable mining

    The leader of the federal Green Party of Canada is clarifying some misinformation about the party's stance on mining.In the party's platform, there is a line that states that "no new pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, will be approved."The platform also states that the party plans to "support the transition of the mining sector to an innovation hub for greener technologies."It also pledges $40 million for the proposed Sudbury-based mining innovation cluster.Some have questioned what the promises mean for the mining sector.Party leader Elizabeth May says the promise is meant to encourage more sustainable practices in mining."This is from a Sudbury-based mining support consortium that want to ensure they can reduce their dependence on fuels and do more with electricity," she said."It's entirely in favour of sustainable mining, not phasing out mining, that's a bizarre misinterpretation."May says the investment into greener technologies in mining could impact the market globally.

  • Bruce Cockburn avoids impulse to get political with lyric-less new album
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Bruce Cockburn avoids impulse to get political with lyric-less new album

    TORONTO — If anyone is looking for activist folk singer Bruce Cockburn to deliver a passionate lyrical rebuke for our tumultuous times, they're not going to find it on his newest album.The 74-year-old musician has a respected history in the craft of protest songs, but he's not taking the bait anymore. He doesn't find inspiration in the anger that's spewed by the U.S. president, he says, nor does he feel the necessity to acknowledge the latest outrage.Half a century into his career, the songwriter behind "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" and "If a Tree Falls" might seem a little jaded — but he sees it differently."I'm more frustrated than fired up," he explains while sitting in the lobby of a Toronto hotel."I've gotten angry so many times over so many things. Really the stuff that would make me angry now is all the same."Cockburn acknowledges that might be him showing his age. The energy that once fuelled his inner fire is being redirected, mostly to raising his young daughter. The Ottawa-born musician, who resides in San Francisco with his wife, also walks with a cane due to hip and foot problems.Cockburn says he doesn't want to recycle the agita that established him in the Canadian cultural canon. It seems he would rather seek solace from today's political discord in the strings of his acoustic guitar.On his 34th album "Crowing Ignites," due for release on Sept. 20, Cockburn lets the music do the talking. The all-instrumental project is his first since "Speechless," a wordless collection of mostly covers of his own songs released 15 years ago that firmly established Cockburn as a formidable picker. His latest further entrenches his skills beyond the written word.But "Crowing Ignites" isn't an island of work. The collection of 11 original tracks plays like a meditation on our careless existence, though it leaves most of its interpretation up to the listener.Cockburn offers some direction in the song's titles: "April in Memphis," evokes the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and "Blind Willie" is an homage to pre-Depression era American gospel singer Blind Willie Johnson, whose troubled life led to an early death at 48."Seven Daggers," named in reference to Roman Catholic imagery of the Virgin Mary, is a dreamy journey where Cockburn's guitar lingers among the sounds of kalimbas. And the hypnotic "Bells of Gethsemane," takes his instrument drifting along a sea of Tibetan cymbals, chimes and singing bowls."To me, the nature of instrumental music is that it exists on its own terms," Cockburn explains."It may suggest things to you, or conjure up feelings, but you can't really control how it does that."Yet it's difficult to separate "Crowing Ignites" from the social fabric it's built from, which makes Cockburn's insistence on ambiguity all the more bewildering.When asked about politics, he offers a clearer sense of what might've led him to return to instrumentals. He expresses dismay over how "polarization" and "fragmentation" have split people along political party lines and isolated both sides from each other."The whole idea that liberal and conservative have become pejorative — they're not descriptive terms anymore, they're labels to refer to people you hate. How can you have dialogue when the language can't accommodate a different point of view?" Cockburn says."Maybe that was in the background somewhere in the choice of doing an instrumental album. It wasn't conscious. But we have to do our best to promote community and dialogue."It's one of the reasons he hasn't released a song about Donald Trump, who he believes promotes "chaos." He refuses to give the U.S. president any more oxygen."The world is talking about Donald Trump by his invitation — he doesn't need any more attention," he says.Cockburn hopes for the sake of his eight-year-old daughter the world digs itself out of its troubled state."In a way, I feel guilty for having had a kid, not from the point of view of population, but for inflicting the future on that child," he says."I worry about that. But I probably won't even be here when she's hitting the worst of that, so it's kind of hard to think of it in concrete terms." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2019.Follow @dfriend on Twitter.David Friend, The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Expressway a 'sweet spot' for fixing Terwillegar traffic troubles, councillor says

    Residents in southwest Edmonton have had plenty to say about the traffic troubles they experience on Terwillegar Drive getting in and out of their neighbourhoods.Wednesday afternoon, the city is giving them a chance to speak up about a proposal to settle things down.A drop-in session will allow residents and other interested Edmontonians to check out the details of a proposed $300-million proposal to turn Terwillegar Drive into an expressway with four lanes in each direction, dedicated bus lanes and a multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians."In many of the intersections, there's really only one through-lane at rush hour. One lane is consumed by turn movements," Coun. Tim Cartmell said Wednesday on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM."This will give us at least three through-lanes plus turn space at every intersection and really include improve flow-through."The proposed expressway concept is a cheaper, faster alternative to the freeway concept that was first considered. The six-lane freeway would have had free-flowing traffic, interchanges and a $1.2-billion price tag. It would also have taken 30 years to build.The expressway concept was approved by city council in December."This represents actually a very good sweet spot," Cartmell said. "This is going to add the capacity that we need to meet the demand today and for the next 10 to 15 years, without overbuilding and overspending on big infrastructure."The dedicated bus lane has potential to be a huge improvement over the "current car-only opportunity that people have right now."In the morning peak rush, for example, there would be two bus routes.One would stop at each of the four main crossings between Anthony Henday Drive and Whitemud Drive — Haddow Drive, 23rd Avenue, Rabbit Hill Road and 40th Avenue —  then proceed on to South Campus.The other route would start in Ambleside, stop at 23rd Avenue, and then go straight to South Campus."With the addition of a park-and-ride lot south of the Henday, you could find yourself on a bus and connecting into the LRT less than 15 minutes later," he said.The open house takes place Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Thomas More Parish, 210 Haddow Close.For more information, see details of the city's proposal here.

  • Glossy new LRT stations could prove deadly to city's birds
    News
    CBC

    Glossy new LRT stations could prove deadly to city's birds

    Ottawa's glossy new LRT stations may prove fatal for the city's winged creatures, a local animal activist fears.Many of the Confederation Line's above-ground stations feature shiny metal exteriors and large windows, a clear hazard for birds, according to Anouk Hoedeman, co-ordinator of Safe Wings Ottawa. 'Glass like that is just really deadly for birds because they don't understand it.' \- Anouk Hoedeman, Safe Wings Ottawa"I see a huge hazard for birds because they can see straight through a lot of this glass, and there's a lot of bird activity around here," Hoedeman told Ottawa Morning's Hallie Cotnam outside Bayview station on Wednesday."Glass like that is just really deadly for birds because they don't understand it, and our LRT stations have a lot of glass, and this one in particular."The LRT line crosses a popular corridor for birds travelling between Dow's Lake and the Ottawa River, Hoedeman said.Bird-friendly options ignoredHoedeman said she raised the issue of bird-friendly design early on in the LRT planning process, but it appears she was ignored.Fixing those problem after the fact can be costly, and sparsely distributed decals don't help much because birds will simply avoid them and strike a clear panel of glass, she said."What you really need to have is a fairly dense pattern on the glass. Two-inch spacing is ideal ... so that the birds see the entire surface of the glass as an obstacle," Hoedeman said.A good example is Place Bell on Elgin Street, she said, which is designed in a bird-friendly way that doesn't obstruct the view from inside, she said.Hoedeman is hoping to press the point as the city embarks on the planning for Stage 2 of the LRT.Report bird strikesIn the meantime, Hoedeman is asking people to be on the lookout for bird strikes.If you find a bird that has struck a window, pick it up as soon as possible so that it doesn't get stepped on or picked off by a predator. Place it in a paper bag or box and call Safe Wings, Hoedeman said."The more we know about these collisions, including what species it is, what time it happens, where, what side of the building, the more we understand the problem," she said."Having that information also helps us identify which are the worst buildings and which are the worst facades so that we can prioritize doing something about those."

  • News
    CBC

    Autism-positive Scout troops coming to Calgary

    Scouts Canada is hoping to fill a void in Calgary by offering specialized troops for children with autism spectrum disorder.The organization is teaming up with Autism Calgary for the project and held an information session on Tuesday night.It's often difficult for kids with autism to fit in with organized group activities.Angela Gough hopes the specialized troops can change that for her nine-year-old son."It can be really isolating to be on the spectrum and not have somewhere to go," she said."It's important to know that, yes, these kids can achieve things. And especially when we're meeting their needs and supporting them properly they can do a lot of stuff. So it's great that they can still participate and hit benchmarks."Challenges in socializationThe neurodevelopmental disorder is characterized by observable challenges in socialization, speech and communication and repetitive and or restrictive behaviours, Autism Calgary says on its website.The new troops will offer a specialized setting with an increased ratio of adults to kids, as well as autism-aware volunteers and special needs assistance, said Kelly Logan, a manager with Scouts Canada."I think children on the autistic spectrum can find it very tricky because … they do have problems with social situations, and that can make them stand out, and it can make other people not want to play with them," she said."Being part of an organization that includes everybody is great for those kids because it's not really a handicap for them, it's just who they are and we accept them for that."The troops will be piloted with Beavers, for kids five to seven, and Cubs, for kids eight to 10 years old.Many families interestedAutism Calgary says it has already had interest from more than 90 families wanting to participate.Logan says the program is beneficial for the other kids, too."It gives them the skills to understand how they can help their friends. Not everybody's the same, and it gives them those skills to be more inclusive themselves and more accepting and kind."

  • Federal Election 2019: Scheer campaigns at bakery, purchases pastries
    Global News

    Federal Election 2019: Scheer campaigns at bakery, purchases pastries

    Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer visited Lucullus Bakery & Pastries in Richmond Hill, Ont., where he campaigned with the Conservative candidate in that riding, Costas Menegakis, and purchased pastries.

  • Low water warning issued for Napanee, Belleville regions
    News
    CBC

    Low water warning issued for Napanee, Belleville regions

    Residents of the regions around Belleville, Napanee, Madoc and north of Kingston, Ont., are being asked to conserve water after a dry spell resulted in low water levels.Quinte Conservation has declared a "Level 2 Low Water Condition" for the Moira, Napanee and Salmon watersheds.That means wells have water levels below normal for this time of year, and with warm temperatures and little rain in the forecast, levels could drop further, leading to serious water supply issue in the region.When water levels drop enough to declare a Level 3 condition, municipalities can implement water bans.The last time a Level 3 was declared was in 2016. Water levels aren't quite that low, but are similar to last year's levels, Lynette Lambert, a watershed monitoring co-ordinator with the conservation authority told CBC Ottawa.While larger municipalities such as Belleville and Napanee draw their water from the Bay of Quinte, the low levels can have consequences for those in the rural northern part of the region who rely primarily on groundwater, she said.The conservation authority is asking residents and businesses in the area to cut their water usage by 20 per cent until the groundwater supply is restored.That can mean limiting showers, cutting back on laundry, refraining from watering lawns, using rain barrels and fixing any leaky plumbing.