Marke Raines, former B.C. broadcaster and Liberal MP, dies at 93

Marke Raines, right, holds a CKNW microphone as Elvis Presley speaks backstage in Vancouver on Aug. 31, 1957. B.C. Radio History

Marke Raines, a journalist who had groundbreaking careers in radio and television in British Columbia before successfully running for Parliament in the 1970s, has died, according to his family. He was 93.

An obituary written and distributed by the family said Raines died suddenly from heart failure on April 10, Good Friday, at his home in Toronto.

Born in Calgary, Raines served with the 52 City of Calgary Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets during the Second World War. After teaching himself to speak without a lisp with the help of a wire recorder, he began his journalism career at CJCJ radio in Calgary.

He moved to Vancouver in 1951, where he began writing news copy and announcing at CKMO radio. In 1952, he married Eunice, who was working at CKNW radio. The two were married until his death.

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Raines joined Eunice at CKNW that same year and became the station’s first beat reporter, regularly breaking stories and interviewing everyone from politicians to Elvis Presley. He also found time to co-host a weekly comedy show at the station, Just for Fun, with Warren Barker.

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In 1964, Raines began hosting Pipeline, an open-line public affairs show on radio station CJOR. A year later, both he and the show transitioned to CHAN-TV — later BCTV and now Global BC — where Raines wrote and presented other programming, including Night Beat, a late-night newscast that became News Hour Final.

Raines anchored Night Beat until 1974, when he successfully ran as the Liberal Party candidate for Burnaby-Seymour in that year’s federal election. During his lone five-year term, he was a member of the standing committee on broadcasting, films and assistance to the arts and was a parliamentary delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1977.

Following his tenure in Parliament, Raines was appointed to a five-year term as a commissioner on the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission.

According to the family, Raines held a commercial pilot licence and made several flights over the Rocky Mountains to Alberta. One of those flights, they said, was on a supersonic F106 Delta Dart jet as a guest of the United States Air Force.

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“When family members inquired how that came about, he replied, ‘I asked,'” the obituary reads.

Raines and his wife moved to Toronto in 2014 to be closer to their children.

“He will be remembered, with love, for his dedication to his family, his moral rigour and sense of fair play, his sense of humour and his genuine interest in people,” the family wrote.

“He was a kind and loving husband, father and grandfather.  Marke will be sorely missed by his family, friends and former colleagues.”

The family says a memorial service will be held at a later date.

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