Paul Edmund MCRAE

MCRAE, Paul Edmund, B.A.

Personal Data

Thunder Bay--Atikokan (Ontario)
Birth Date
October 20, 1924
Deceased Date
November 3, 1992
school principal

Parliamentary Career

October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
  Fort William (Ontario)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
  Fort William (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Postmaster General (October 10, 1975 - September 30, 1976)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare (October 1, 1976 - September 30, 1977)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
  Thunder Bay--Atikokan (Ontario)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
  Thunder Bay--Atikokan (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 134 of 136)

October 15, 1973

Mr. Paul E. McRae (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak on this motion because, as the hon. member for Kent-Essex (Mr. Danforth) has pointed out, the problems which exist in his area also exist in my area in Ontario. The problems created by the rapid speed of boats and ships of one kind or another is considerable. Shoreline erosion is a very definite problem. Right in my neighbourhood a number of small pleasure craft, yachts and even larger boats, move up and down the river creating erosion problems.

This difficulty has been increased by the creation of a provincial park further up the river. The erosion problems are considerable, but I must point out that the federal

October 15, 1973

government is working on the problem. I think hon. members should know a little bit about what the federal government is doing. While the government is making an effort, there are other things that could be done.

On April 11 of this year, the St. Clair and Detroit River Vessel Speed Regulations were gazetted. The Ministry of Transport established these regulations for the purpose of navigational safety, the preservation of navigational channels and the protection of riparian interests. The speed limits apply to all vessels, other than pleasure yachts, having an over-all length of 65 feet or more. They were established after months of lengthy discussions with interested parties. They are based on extensive technical studies and field observations conducted jointly by the engineering staffs of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

The schedule to the regulations specifies the maximum upbound and downbound speed, expressed in miles per hour over the bottom, in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers from Fort Gratiot Light to the Detroit River Light, excluding Lake St. Clair. These regulations will be complemented by similar regulations' established by the American authorities for those parts of the river under their jurisdiction. Enforcement of the regulations is being carried out in the Detroit River by ministry officials and the RCMP with the aid of a shore installation which enables measurements to be made over a known distance to determine the speed of passing ships. From May 25 to September 13 inclusive, 707 commercial vessels of 65 feet in length or over were monitored passing the Amherstburg area.

I keep bringing up the point of vessels 65 feet and over because I think one area where improvement can be made is in the reduction of the length of boats to which these regulations apply because, although this would not apply to Lake St. Clair, such boats cause damage in the smaller lakes and rivers. Of this total to which I have referred, approximately 5.5 per cent exceeded the speed limit sufficient to warrant legal action being taken. A chronic offender appeared in court on September 20 and pleaded guilty. He was fined $50. I consider this fine to be rather small considering the damage done to shorelines. Warning notices have been sent to the remaining offenders. The intention is that all vessels exceeding the speed limit will be prosecuted. I think operators of vessels should be aware of this warning, and I think we should be sure that we follow it up. I hope that fines in excess of $50 would be more the rule than the exception.

In drafting speed regulations of this type, it is necessary to take into consideration the interests of the marine community as a whole. This requires the establishment of speeds that will be realistic and meet, as far as possible, the conflicting interests in the area. Speed limits that are set too low will impose unfair economic burdens on commercial vessels; these added costs will eventually be passed on to the general public when purchasing consumer products. Conversely, speed limits that are too high may cause extensive damage to shore property and, in addition, high speeds may encourage unsafe navigational practices to the detriment of all concerned.

Damage to Shoreline by Passing Ships

An amendment to the St. Clair and Detroit River speed regulations was given Privy Council approval on the 31st of August, 1973, and published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on September 26, 1973. This amendment will give these regulations more flexibility by allowing for a temporary reduction of speed limits, as circumstances require, in any part of the river to which the limits apply. This requirement for more flexibility has become necessary due to exceptionally high water levels in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers which has brought strong protests from riparian interests who have been exposed to extensive property damage.

I can understand the need for flexibility depending on water levels, winds and so on. In addition, it has been proposed that the regional director for the central region, marine services, Ministry of Transport, be granted the power to temporarily lower the speed limit for the safety of navigation or for the protection of persons or property at or near the shore. A speed limit established by the regional director will come into force upon its publication in a notice to shipping or a notice to mariners and will remain in force until its modification or cessation is published in a subsequent notice to shipping or notice to mariners. Speed limits are in force in many of Canada's public harbours and are administered by the various harbour authorities. This is certainly the case in the harbour that is in my constituency, the Thunder Bay Harbour.

In particular, the Ministry of Transport has encouraged the Windsor Harbour Commission to enforce speed limits for vessels of less than 65 feet in length within harbour commission boundaries. Between Montreal and Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority is responsible for the establishment of maximum speed limits. Seaway Notice No. 4 of 1972 sets the limits in specified sections of the waterway for vessels in excess of 40 feet in length. These limits are as a result of extensive studies that have taken place over many years. The objective in the St. Lawrence is similar to that in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers; to establish realistic speeds that will meet the requirements of the marine community as a whole.

A further seaway notice No. 5 of 1972 introduced, as a result of wave investigations, speed limits of 13 miles an hour over the bottom in the Canadian waters of the St. Lawrence River in the area from Grenadier Island to Howe Island. On May 11, 1972, the St. Lawrence Seaway reaffirmed the speed limits in other areas of the system and brought to the attention of mariners the fact that complaints were still being received from the public regarding excessive vessel speeds causing shoreline property damage and creating the risk of possible serious injury or loss of life. This notice also warned the mariner that surveillance crews were using radar to enforce the speed limits on a round-the-clock basis. A reduction of the maximum speed by the St. Lawrence Seaway for the Beauharnois Canal was promulgated in seaway notice No. 9 of 1972.

On March 21, 1973 the St. Lawrence Seaway re-established speed limits in the river between Montreal and Lake Ontario. The notice of March 21 was followed by notice No. 7 of 1973, dated March 27, 1973 which included a plan showing the designated speed limit areas in the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the seaway. This notice

October 15, 1973

Damage to Shoreline by Passing Ships advised mariners of the necessity of imposing temporary speed limits due to the present high water levels. It also included a warning that surveillance crews would be enforcing the speed regulations on a round-the-clock basis using radar equipment. This is extremely important. If we have regulations they must be enforced on an around-the-clock basis because the shoreline does not go to sleep at night and can be damaged at one time as well as at another. Mariners were requested to exercise vigilance in adhering to the prescribed limits; failing to do so might cause shoreline property damage and create the risk of possible serious injury or loss of life. The following are the temporary speed limits. In Parts of Lake St. Louis 12 knots to 13 knots, depending on the width. Between Ogden Island and Blind Bay, 14 knots, and between Bartlett Point and Tibbetts Point 13 knots.

The rising water levels in Lake Ontario and the Upper St. Lawrence River were in April, 1973, reaching the point where shoreline and property damage could result from normal vessel speeds. All predictions based on close monitoring indicated that this point would be reached within the following few days. Due to these facts, the Canadian and American Seaway authorities jointly announced that they had reached agreement on further temporary speed reductions. In general, vessels would be limited to a maximum of 12 miles an hour between Tibbetts Point on Lake Ontario and Lancaster, Ontario on Lake St. Francis. In making this announcement, Dr. Camu and Mr. Oberlin said:

These further speed reductions are being made in recognition of the serious threat which the forecast high water poses to the citizens on both sides of the waterway. We have called upon the shipping industry to join us in recognizing the emergency conditions by strict adherence to the prescribed limits even though the efficiency of the waterway will be significantly reduced as a result of these restrictions.

When vessel speed limits are established they are based on the results of continuing field studies which take into account a number of factors including vessel speed, wave height, shape of hull, width and depth of channel, current velocity and other related criteria. While all these points are carefully considered in arriving at a speed limit, the effects of high water levels are also given substantial consideration with respect to the areas under study, the use to which the waters are to be put and the extent, development, condition and proximity of the shoreline.

On April 10, 1973, notice No. 8 was issued by the Seaway, superseding notice No. 7 of 1973. This notice further reduced the speed limits in force and, in addition, included three areas previously not affected.

Notice No. 9 of May 8, 1973, imposed a temporary speed limit of 11 miles an hour over the bottom in the area of the Canadian middle channel for all vessels in excess of 40 feet in length.

During the latter part of this summer, the water levels on Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River were receding to more normal conditions. This is not the case in the upper lakes, and certainly not the case on Lake Superior, so we have a year or two before we can expect that situation to occur. As a matter of fact, with the closing of a couple of the locks at Sault Ste. Marie we can

expect the levels of Lake Superior to be high for two or three years, possibly even higher than they were this year. If there is any significant run-off this spring, we may have considerable shoreline flooding and damage next summer when the high water usually occurs, that is about the first of August. As a result of the water levels on Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River receding, some of the temporary speed limits were removed. However, notice No. 15 of August 15, 1973, while expressing appreciation for the co-operation of pilots and masters during the high water periods, continued to stress that their co-operation in adhering to the speed limit was essential.

In the period from April 19 to July 20, 455 commercial vessels were checked. Of this total, 55 were found to be exceeding the speed limit, 30 offenders received letters of warning because they only exceeded the speed limit by a small amount, and six had recorded violations and were fined between $100 and $300, very small fines considering the damage that was done. The charges against the remaining 19 violators are still being processed.

On May 4, 1973, the Ministry of Transport published notice No. 417 to mariners warning mariners of the damage caused by the excessive speed of ships and boats. This notice would also be published in the annual edition of "Canadian Notices to Mariners":

During recent years, there has been a marked increase in the damage caused by draw-off and wave disturbance generated by the passage of ships and boats.

In addition to damage caused to wharves, boat houses, small boats, moored ships, and erosion of the shoreline, there is also the attendant risk of causing serious bodily harm to persons in, on, or near the shore, particularly children.

The amount of draw-off and the size and intensity of the waves at any given speed varies with the hull form and draft of each vessel. Other factors include the proximity to the shore and objects concerned and the configuration of the channel.

Existing water levels must be taken into account since high water levels tend to increase and extend the damaging effects of a vessel's passage beyond what would otherwise be expected.

Masters, pilots and owners of vessels may be subject to court action for damages sustained by injured parties as a result of damage or injury caused by the passage of their vessels.

Regulations designed to control this type of damage would require speed limits sufficiently low to prevent damage by any type of vessel. This might impose on some vessels unrealistic speed limits and cause undue economic and recreational restraints. ,

Control of vessels' speed limits by regulation can be avoided if persons in charge of the navigation of vessels, who best know the individual characteristics of their vessel, exercise restraint and reduce speed as necessary, taking into account all factors that may contribute to or aggravate the damaging effects of draw-off and wave disturbance-

Whereas many speed restrictions are of a specific nature, tailored to the needs of a particular area, this notice is general in nature and is intended to apply in all Canadian waters. The notice is reprinted yearly in the "Canadian Notices to Mariners". This publication is one that must be carried on board all ships in waters under Canadian jurisdiction under the charts and publications regulations.

The problem of vessel speed can also be approached in another way. The boating restriction regulations provide a means of control where the operation of boats creates specific problems such as noise nuisance, danger to other

October 15, 1973

craft or to swimmers, or erosion of the shoreline by wave action.

The purpose of the regulations is to restrict or prohibit some or all types of boating activity in specified areas or bodies of water. Provision is made in the regulations for: first, the imposition of speed limits; second, the limitation of the height of wash from vessels; third, the prohibition of water skiing, and fourth, the prohibition of boating in general. These various restrictions are listed in the restrictive schedules appended to the regulations.

In order to have a restriction or a prohibition imposed on a given body of water, a local authority such as a municipality makes application to the appropriate provincial authority which may, after assessing provincial interest in the matter, make formal application to the federal government to consider including the body of water in one of the restrictive schedules. The federal government may then, after ascertaining that there is no overriding federal interest in the matter, impose the desired restrictions.

The regulations provide for police officers or persons designated by the Minister of Transport (Mr. Marchand) as peace officers to enforce the regulations. Provisions are made for fines of up to $500 for infractions. I believe that the limit of $500 is unreal because the damage done can be far in excess of that amount of money. In fact, often what is damaged cannot be replaced. When a portion of shoreline consisting of three or four acres falls into the waters, as happened in our area not so long ago, how does one assess that kind of damage? I think that to be realistic, fines in excess of this amount, fines that relate somewhat to the damage, should be enforced.

The provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta have already designated departments to which application for boat operation restrictions can be forwarded. A preliminary study has been carried out regarding a vessel traffic management program for Canada. It is anticipated that a firm policy will be established and a national program developed as a result of this study.

Various forms of vessel traffic management have been in use in Canadian waters since the early 1960's. These systems were developed to fulfil particular local requirements. Since the mid-1960's, major changes and developments have occurred in the marine transportation field which require vessel traffic management systems to be established on a national scale. These changes include the introduction of the Very Large Crude Carrier and the concept of transshipment of crude oil and oil products. Of course, we all aware of the size of some of these supertankers. They include the introduction of containerization and other similar shipping practices, the increasing movement of all types of cargo by marine methods, major oil exploration activity in the Arctic and on the east and west coasts, a proposed west coast tanker route, and the development of supertanker terminals on the Atlantic coast.

In conclusion may I say that I support the intent of the motion. I think we have a very serious shoreline problem, particularly in view of the high water level of the Great Lakes and the systems leading to and from the Great Lakes. I believe that the regulations should be more strictly enforced, that smaller vessels should be included, vessels of ten or 12 feet, and finally, that some of the fines

Damage to Shoreline by Passing Ships

should be increased so that they are in relation to the damage that is done.

Subtopic:   TRANSPORT
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September 14, 1973

Mr. Paul McRae (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, there is no question there is a serious need for a 911 number or other emergency number with which everyone in this country is familiar, so that in an emergency they could get help quickly. This emergency number system should be set up in such a way that a person who does not happen to have a dime could make his call. The government supports the intent of this measure and I believe it is a good thing we should be talking about it this afternoon and supporting it.

There are, however, some difficulties attached to setting up such a system. One of the results of this debate may be to push the communications industry into moving forward a little faster. The telephone companies have been in consultation with the government about the establishment of the 911 number and the conclusion has been reached that certain far-reaching developments are required in close co-operation with all the municipalities concerned. First, a central organization needs to be established by the municipalities concerned and adequate manning of the emergency facilities arranged. In some cities this is already being done. London and Toronto, I understand, have already done so.

The number 911 has been used and other numbers have been employed in various cities. In cities which have not established reporting centres one can, of course, dial emergency centres such as police and fire brigade separately. Once again, delay arises because the user must pick up a directory and look up a number. We all know that it is sometimes not possible to find a directory at hand. This applies particularly to pay phones. There is no question that a universally recognized number such as 911 would be much more convenient.

As I have indicated, some problems have been brought to my attention. Emergency systems, if they are to work, must be simple in operation and combined in a pre-determined network which assures the calling party of reaching the desired emergency control centre with minimum effort and a high degree of reliability. Unless the system is engineered and adapted to all types of switching centres, confusion will result due to different requirements in the territorial areas. We all recognize that different types of equipment are in use in different areas. This is one of the reasons for delay.

Emergency reporting necessitates reaching an interrogation centre where clearcut and appropriate questions can be asked to ensure rapid and correct dispatch of the appropriate people. In manually operated exchanges, a system for the centralization of emergency calls would be essential; trained personnel would accept the call and forward it for appropriate action. As hon. members know, there are still manually-operated exchanges in some parts of the country. In locations not equipped for direct distance dialling, some homing-in of emergency calls for appropriate forewarning is essential.

The question of responsibility for failure or errors is a serious one. Minimization of this potential would require an emergency network to be set up. Suppose a call is made in an emergency and the operator misinterprets it, fails to get the proper address or call back to the right number. Where does the responsibility lie? This is a matter which

September 14, 1973

might well be considered in connection with the bill before us.

Another matter of concern is whether adequate facilities are available. Supposing there is only one emergency number and a great many people are calling in. Might not a situation arise where calls could not be sorted out quickly and correctly? Then again, an emergency number must harmonize with the normal numbering pattern of exchanges. In some exchanges a five-digit calling system is employed. In others, a seven-digit system. Some of the smaller exchanges use only two or three digits. We should also remember that emergency centres are vulnerable to wide fluctuations in load, so it would seem essential to engineer overflow call answering arrangements.

Then again, personnel at control centres need to be familiar with local conditions. Experience has shown the need for emergency calls to be directed to locations where the recipient has a good knowledge of the local geography and the facilities available, since people calling in emergencies tend to use local or common names for locations, names which could be meaningless to a remote control centre. Obviously, this is one of the problems to be considered, though I believe it can be overcome.

As I say, I welcome the intent of the bill. I have no doubt many lives would have been saved if people had been able to call for assistance quickly enough in an emergency. I urge the government and the industry to pursue this matter as rapidly as possible so that an emergency number system such as 911-and that number is a good one to use-might be available in every community in Canada.

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July 6, 1973

Mr. Paul E. McRae (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this bill which will suspend the present redistribution scheme until such time as we can give some real thought to better methods of achieving equity in respect of this very serious matter. I happen to represent a riding which, as a result of the first proposal of the redistribution commission in Ontario, was completely wiped out. In the second proposal it was brought back almost intact. I must support the committee in its work, not just because it brought the riding back intact, but because of the fact that the problems it faced were tremendous.

I perceive two basic problems. The first relates to the whole idea of community of interest. It is very difficult for a commission in a province the size of Ontario to obtain this community of interest. The hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Leggatt) has forgotten that there is some cleavage between southern and northern Ontario. I think I am the third or the fourth member of the government to speak in favour of the bill. When you have a province this size it is very difficult for any group of people to come into a community and understand the situation.

Even though my riding was wiped out and brought back almost intact by the second proposal, the commission left out a very small area, approximately 100 acres, which is the heart of the community. This is the part where the old families and even the grandparents still live. They were cut right out of the riding, yet this was the part of the community which was known as the city of Fort William.

This is the kind of community of interest I suggest a commission from outside is not able to perceive. A lot of redrafting of boundaries has been done, but the effect has been to cut across some of these very important lines of community of interest.

The other basic problem this commission had was in respect of the great variation in the size of ridings in Ontario. One hon. member suggested earlier there was a 50 per cent variation up and a 50 per cent variation down. Actually it is a 25 per cent variation up and a 25 per cent variation down. This is not really a significant variation, but I would ask those of you who have seen the maps to look at the new riding of Albany-Nipigon. It is an unbelievable monstrosity. At the east end it borders on the Quebec border, and on the west it runs just 150 miles from

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Winnipeg. It goes to the Manitoba border at the James Bay-Hudson Bay point and from there to Lake Superior. How does a member deal with the people on the shores of Lake Superior, and be in contact with the people in Winisk at the other end?

One of the points raised for consideration by the hon. member for Peel South (Mr. Blenkarn) was the idea of accessibility. It seems to me one of the principles that apply is that if you have representation you have access to that person representing you. But how is a member who is in Cochrane going to be accessible to people in Winisk, 500, 600 or 700 miles away? This is the kind of problem that this commission had in northern Ontario resulting from the difference in population size between the two censuses. There was a growth rate increase of 5 per cent between the two censuses, while at the same time we lost two seats in northern Ontario, though admittedly one of these seats was reinstated as a result of the second proposal.

These are two of the very difficult problems that faced the commission, and the members frankly admitted they saw no way of really doing an appropriate job unless the variation of 25 per cent was increased. I think a 33 per cent variation would probably have left the boundaries of the ridings in northern Ontario intact. However, the commission had no choice but to work within its limits.

I think there are other implications we have not considered, and I should like to deal with them for a few moments. Canada is a country of great conflict and contrast. We have areas of strong growth, particularly in that triangle from Montreal to Ottawa to Toronto, including the golden horseshoe. Vancouver is another area with a heavy growth concentration. The golden horseshoe is an area of great economic wealth, and I suggest that political power goes hand in hand with economic power.

There is one interesting thing about the golden horseshoe that I am surprised the hon. member for Peel South did not mention. I refer to the fact that in Toronto there is a growing concern about overgrowth, about becoming too big.

I hear hon. members from the golden horseshoe area, especially metropolitan Toronto, talk about the Pickering airport and say that we do not need it. They talk about a greenbelt in the province of Ontario to prevent this kind of growth. Is this the kind of situation in which we should concentrate more and more political power when we want to accommodate a situation of new growth? In the out-lands of this country-and I represent such an area-there are decreasing populations in percentage terms in respect to other areas, and there are lower growth rates. If this bill should pass we would have a considerably declining political power. The wealth of this country, the oil which has been referred to, the power and the energy, must come from these outland areas. We hear people beginning to say we should be doing some of the processing in these areas, that we should be doing some of the secondary as well as primary processing.

We need growth in our area. If it is said that Toronto has grown too much, then why is it not said that we should use whatever resources we have for the purpose of moving the

July 6, 1973

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension growth out? We have such plans as DREE and ARDA. Political power is needed in these areas to bring this about. I believe we should at least retain the political power we have at the present time.

I would be very concerned if I were the hon. member for Peel South (Mr. Blenkarn) and had a riding containing close to 200,000 people. I do not think there is any justification for having a riding of that size, and I understand his problem. However, I think when we look at ridings like the Northwest Territories, Kenora, Nipigon, Cochrane, or these unbelievable ridings which are being created and which will be far worse than those we have had in the past, even a population of 50,000 may be too large. I think this bill will give us time in which to consider very carefully the needs of the country and allow us to develop some notions in respect of redistributing growth, leaving some political power in those areas where the growth should be.

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July 6, 1973

Mr. McRae:

Because I think the redistribution will have taken place at that particular point. You need political power to gain the economic power which should flow to your area, or to gain the growth which should flow to your area.

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June 21, 1973

Mr. Paul E. McRae (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct a question to the Minister of Transport. In view of the recently announced granting of an operating subsidy by the United States maritime administration to a U.S. carrier, this being the second Great Lakes bulk operator to receive such a subsidy, and in view of the fact that such a subsidy most certainly will place our Canadian Great Lake bulk carriers at a serious disadvantage, what action is the Canadian government planning to take to offset the thrust of this unilateral action by an agency of the United States government?

Subtopic:   SHIPPING
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