Paul Edmund MCRAE

MCRAE, Paul Edmund, B.A.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Thunder Bay--Atikokan (Ontario)
Birth Date
October 20, 1924
Deceased Date
November 3, 1992
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_McRae
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=5d169cac-f116-46fd-9ff6-73cffa8348d5&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
school principal

Parliamentary Career

October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
LIB
  Fort William (Ontario)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
LIB
  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
LIB
  Thunder Bay--Atikokan (Ontario)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
LIB
  Thunder Bay--Atikokan (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 135 of 136)


March 20, 1973

Mr. Paul E. McRae (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, while other industries in this country show really aggressive approaches, in my opinion the railroads are very, very backward. Situated as I am in mid-Canada, in the area of Thunder Bay, one of Canada's largest harbours, a harbour that on a monthly basis when it is open carries the greatest tonnage of any harbour in Canada-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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March 20, 1973

Mr. McRae:

The same speech, and the same railroads too. Situated in the middle of this country, I see the role of the railroads as linking one part of the country with the other part. Yet I see a railroad system that is very weak and unaggressive, one that does not take opportunities when opportunities come along. In many ways the two railroads of this country do not want to run a railroad. I mention their approach to the provision of passenger service as an example. In my area recently 22 operators and other workers were laid off by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

So-called service centres have now been established in most of the places along the route, but they are a disgrace if the one that we found in the old city of Port Arthur is anything to go by, with plaster hanging off the ceiling, and so on. Because the agencies are no longer there, the service falls off and people are not able to buy tickets at the station. A sign on the door tells them to get their ticket at a travel agency. A year or two from now, Mr. Speaker, the CPR will come back to the public asking for larger subsidies because they are losing money, and it is because of the kind of non-aggressive approach that they are taking now.

Where were the railways when the issue of the Pickering airport first arose? Did they present a ground alternative; did they propose rapid ground transportation? No, they were not to be seen. Last week the Premier of British Columbia introduced the idea of a railroad alternative to the Mackenzie valley pipeline. At about the same time I was speaking in the committee on Indian affairs and northern development about the same kind of matter, only I was speaking of a rail pipeline along the east side of the Rockies.

A group working at Queen's University, called the Canadian Institute of Guided Ground Transport, has made some studies on this approach. They suggested that a railroad is a viable alternative to this particular pipeline. The difficulty with the pipeline is that it requires that the oil carried be heated to 150 degrees to 180 degrees in order to move in the Arctic, and therefore a pipeline cannot safely be burried in the ground because it would melt the permafrost.

This group at Quenn's University was lightly funded by the government and given some meagre support by the CNR and other groups. It maintains that 20 trains can move the same amount of oil per day as a 48-inch pipeline, that is, two million barrels. It is commonly accepted today

March 20, 1973

Transportation Policy

that the pipeline route would cost $5.3 billion. A railroad, on the other hand, could be built for about $2.5 billion, according to this study. The operating cost for the pipeline, including amortization of the $5.3 billion at roughly 8 per cent, would amount to $425 million per year. It is estimated that the operating cost of the railroad would be in the neighbourhood of $400 million per year-it would be higher except for the saving in the amortization cost.

This group has indicated several advantages of the railroad. The first is that the railroad is expandable. Their figures are based on a two-track system and they maintain that a one-track system would carry the 20 trains a day. Secondly, the railroad could carry liquefied gas, minerals, etc., as well as oil. Thirdly, the railroad could go both ways, taking people and goods in both directions. And fourthly, the railroad would employ more people on an annual basis: 4800 is the figure used in the study. Another factor which must be considered, if these figures are correct, is the lower investment which of course could have some meaning in the long-term relative to our monetary position with the United States.

Mr. Speaker, I bring up three points to show that the railroads are not aggressive. First, the passenger service which is deteriorating; second, the failure to look at fast ground transportation; third, the failure of the railroads to take a stand and do something about the Mackenzie valley pipeline alternative. The figures that were given at the committee the other night would seem to indicate that the amount of money spent on the Mackenzie valley pipeline study was in the neighbourhood of $40 million and the amount spent on the railroad study was a paltry $80,000. Something has to be done, Mr. Speaker, and the government can help by putting more money into this suggested alternative. However, the railroads in this country must take a stronger position, become more responsive to the needs of the modern Canadian community and develop a far more aggressive stance to problems of the future.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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January 30, 1973

Mr. Paul E. McRae (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, when I stood up a couple of weeks ago to make my maiden speech I referred to that strip of the country known as the green belt, or mid-Canada. I talked about the great dis-

tances we travel across the country and I spoke briefly about the way in which the railroads are failing us. Canada is a country that is tremendously dependent upon the railroads. There are two major railroads in this country which in my opinion, really do not want to run a railroad at all. Let me qualify that. One railroad, the CPR, has no interest in running a railroad, in my opinion. The other railroad, the CNR, plays a secondary role. But fundamentally neither is interested in running a railroad in this country in any modern sense.

There is a debate raging throughout the country about whether or not there should be a pipeline down the Mackenzie to satisfy the demand for oil and gas. Some hon. members have suggested that the railroads should look at ways in which they can contribute to the development of a new kind of ground transportation to compliment this kind of activity. But the railroads are just not interested. If a similar opportunity were offered to some other industry, it would be eager to grab it. There has been talk about developing an alternate means of ground transportation to the building of the new airport at Pickering. Where are the aggressive railroads who should seize this opportunity and develop ground transportation as the alternative? I believe we are approaching a major crisis in terms of growth and demand for energy, and that the railroads of this country will have to play a role.

I have lived in northwest Ontario for many years, in the town of Rainy River, which was a railroad town. I saw what happened to the people of that community when overnight the railroads decided to pull out-not completely but just about. They turned to diesel power and laid off 100 people, which practically wiped out any real estate values in that community.

The relationship that exists between the railroads and their employees is one that just cannot be imagined. I have heard railroaders say: "We don't work for the railroad but for the union; how the roads run, we just don't know". Employees who have worked for 35 years for the -CNR in one case, and who have worked 42 years for the CPR in another case, have found a carbon copy of a letter on their desks stating that they had been laid off effective the day before. The people who live in the north country and in the greenbelt are dependent upon the railroads, yet the railroads take these arbitrary decisions. It is enough to make the people in that area lose faith in Canada and make them wonder whether we are interested in solving our problems.

Early in December the CPR announced that they were going to lay off 22 operators between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, and that in their place service centres would be set up. Apparently the CTC agreed to this. We have had some experience with the service centre at Thunder Bay. I have pictures of the service centre in the old city of Port Arthur, which I will show hon. members if they want to see them. These pictures show plaster falling off the ceilings, washrooms in dirty condition and so on. Those are the so-called service centres. These 22 men are going to be laid off. It is said they will be picked up in some other area, but somewhere along the line somebody will be bumped.

January 30, 1973

The name of the game, as far as the railroads are concerned, is subsidy. They go to the CTC, which allows them to lay these people off and run the railroads and services by using Zenith numbers, and so on. But the people are not going to ride these railroads. A year from now they will be back before the CTC saying the business is not there and they need bigger subsidies. The name of the game is not running a railroad, it is getting subsidies.

I support in general the implications of this bill because railroad safety is a subject that has bothered us a great deal. I have not the exact figures with me this afternoon, but I would suggest in the last 10 or 15 years the number of section men has been reduced to about 20 per cent or 25 per cent of what it used to be.

Last year, between April 20 and June 1, there were ten serious accidents on the railroad in the area between Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout, and east, alone. On April 20 there was a derailment at Sunstrum with two lives lost and eight persons injured. I do not have the exact dates, but there was a derailment at Kelly, on the Sioux Lookout line, with 23 cars derailed and 11 persons sent to hospital. There was a derailment at Parmachenne, east of Thunder Bay, with a damaged bridge. There was a derailment at Jelly, seven miles west of the Neebing yards. There was a derailment near Shabaqua, 43 miles west of Neebing. There was a derailment between Garda and Arrita, about 30 miles west of Neebing. There was a derailment between mileage 78 and 79 on the Fort Frances subdivision.

There were also three bridges damaged, a washout near Griff on the Sioux Lookout line and a bridge damaged at mileage 20.8 on the Sioux Lookout line. There was a bridge damaged by fire west of Quetico, at mileage 109.6. There was another bridge accident subsequent to this which caused a great deal of damage, but the railway company has not cleaned up the pollution which resulted. These ten separate accidents happened between April 20 and June 1. In the north country we are now approaching the spring thaw, at which time washouts and accidents occur.

I am please^ to have an opportunity to speak on this matter because it is time we warned the railroads that we will be watching for accidents that may occur. I hope in our area there is not a repetition of what happened last year. Many of the employees are disturbed about this situation and fear for their lives.

Let me conclude by saying that an aggressive and concerned railway industry is vital to Canada, Canadian unity, progress and, in days of growing energy shortages, probably to Canadian survival. This industry must be vitally concerned with its responsibilities for the safety and the welfare of employees. If the management of the railways, particularly the CPR, does not want to assume responsibility, perhaps it is time parliament saw to it that management of these companies in Canada is put in other hands.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   THE RAILWAY ACT
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January 22, 1973

Mr. McRae:

They have kept it secret throughout the last election campaign and through most of this debate. I must commend the hon. member for Northumberland-Durham (Mr. Lawrence) for his very fine rhetorical effort and for the fact that he spoke for 20 or 30 minutes during which time he was able to keep this secret. But you can imagine my surprise when, on Friday afternoon, the hon. member for Ottawa West (Mr. Reilly) blew the secret, at least I believe he did. He said: We must regulate wages and prices. I believe that that is the secret policy of the Conservative party. The reason I believe this is that the policy commends itself to that party. It is basically simple. It is not encumbered by extraneous ideas about, for example, how you control profits. It is not encumbered by abstractions such as information on world food prices. It is not encumbered by concerns about nutrition, and so on. It is a simple policy to deal with a simple problem as if we were still in 1950. But this is 1973. There are no simple problems, and therefore there are no simple answers.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FOOD PRICES
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January 22, 1973

Mr. McRae:

I was much more impressed with the words of the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway (Mrs. Maclnnis) and her suggestion for the establishment of a prices review board. She is well known in the field of food and consumer prices, and I think there is some merit in this solution. I do not know whether it should be adopted in exactly the way it is suggested, but there are some short-term problems which may be solved by the method she suggested.

There are other matters which I hope the committee will consider, such as the quantity of distribution outlets in this country. These are factors which bear on food prices. I believe the committee will have to give the hon. member's suggestion very serious consideration, and if it agrees with that suggestion, I will certainly support it.

As I mentioned earlier, we are living in a far more complex time than the 1950's to which I referred, and there are no basic and simple answers to this problem. I welcome the establishment of this committee, first, because I think it is time we put before the Canadian public and before members of the House the complexity of the problem of rising food prices in the world. I refer to world food prices because this is the crux of the whole problem. We are no longer dealing with a simple matter of shortages of food in Canada or rising prices in Canada.

January 22, 1973

Food Prices Committee

We are dealing with global price increases. We have been told by such people as Brock Chisholm, by groups from the United Nations, by population experts and by a recent publication called "Limits to Growth" coming from M.I.T, that a growing population will create growing food problems. I contend that we are at a point where we will have to face these particular problems.

I think there are two aspects to world food problems that we must consider. First and foremost is the growing number of human beings on this earth. We are told that the world's population will double in 33 years, that it is growing at the rate of 2.1 per cent per year, and that that exponential growth rate will give us a population of around seven billion around the turn of the century, as opposed to 3.6 billion in 1970. We are told that the growth rate itself is rising. In the middle of the 17th century we had a growth rate of about .3 per cent; today it is 2.1 per cent. So, we have a massive problem. It is not such a great problem in areas of the world like Canada where the growth rate of the population is levelling off somewhat, but it is a great problem in many areas of the world where the population is still growing at an ever-increasing rate.

There is another problem in connection with the so-called affluent countries where the demand for food is growing at an excessive rate. This demand of the affluent nations on the food supply is serious. I hope the committee will take a real look at the food problem as a world problem, will take a look at the growing world population, and take a look at the excessive demands made by affluent nations on the supply of food.

I would make one or two suggestions to the committee as possible solutions. Canada, under the present Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and government, has developed a very fine reputation in international circles. Mr. Speaker, we are a major producer of food. I think it would be a fine thing if, as a nation, we took it upon ourselves to present this problem in international circles and call for a world conference on food shortages, similar to the conference on the environment held in Sweden last spring, which we supported. Second, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that the committee take a good look at food supplies. I am convinced that there has been too much movement from the farms to the cities in Canada. I believe there are areas of the country which could still be farmed, and farmed in the future, thus helping to reverse that trend.

I am convinced also that as an affluent nation we have not done a good job in developing better food supplies in the non-affluent, non-industrialized parts of the world. Production of food in some of those areas has not grown as it should have, partly because the measures taken were too grandiose to suit the social patterns of the peoples living in those countries. More effective methods must be sought. In the non-industrialized nations of the world over the last ten years, per capita production of food has remained just about even. In Latin America and Asia the curve has remained almost unchanged, while I notice that in Africa in the last two years it has actually moved in a downward direction. We are not helping to increase supplies of food in those areas in any substantial way.

The third suggestion I make is that all the countries of the world, and this includes the affluent nations, need a great deal more information about the nutritional value of foods. There is much that can be done to substitute some foods that are cheap for other foods that are expensive. This is another area the committee could examine.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I wish to repeat that I welcome the establishment of the proposed committee because I think it is time for us to put away simple answers to highly complex questions. This committee will give us an opportunity to start understanding the complexity of world food shortages. The committee should not recommend just one simple solution. I hope it will make attempts on several fronts to solve the problem.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FOOD PRICES
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