Prime Minister Justin Trudeau carved out a new role in his government Wednesday designed to ensure voices on the Prairies are heard in Ottawa.
Former cabinet minister Jim Carr, who represents a Winnipeg riding, has been named as Trudeau’s “special representative” for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The move follows the Liberals’ complete shutout in two of those three provinces in last month’s election, raising questions about how concerns there would be championed around the cabinet table.
Carr formerly served as both natural resources minister and minister for international trade diversification, two portfolios exceptionally top of mind in the Prairies given ongoing struggles in the energy sector and trade challenges.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took to social media to congratulate those sworn in Wednesday.
“The government of Alberta hopes to find common ground with the federal government to create jobs and growth, in part through responsible resource development, and to ensure fairness in the Canadian federation,” he tweeted.
“In particular, I look forward to working with Jim Carr in his new role as special representative for the Prairies.”
Shortly after the election he was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, raising questions about his ability to keep playing a major role in Trudeau’s cabinet.
His appointment came as part of a broad cabinet shuffle for the Liberal government that also included naming Chrystia Freeland the deputy prime minister and intergovernmental affairs minister.