The Prime Minister’s new special representative to the Prairies says he will be focusing on current challenges as well as looking to the future.
“We recognize this is a very tough moment,” Manitoba MP Jim Carr said.
With no Liberal MPs elected in Alberta or Saskatchewan in October’s federal contest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Carr with being his conduit to a region where unrest is running high.
“I am going to be the eyes and the ears and the voice of the Prime Minister on the Prairies. I’ll be travelling throughout the region, talking to people, listening to people,” the MP for Winnipeg-South Centre said.
“I’m Manitoban. I’ve lived in the Prairies all of my life.”
Carr, a former natural resources minister, said he’ll look to address grievances with the current state of confederation as well as the next phase of developing it.
Tackling Alberta’s economic woes will also make up a large part of his work.
Carr said that includes pushing forward on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion — an issue raised immediately in a December 10th meeting with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
“It was an intelligent conversation between leaders of such an important province and of the Government of Canada looking for common ground — which by the way we were able to find within the first 5 minutes of the meeting, on the importance of the Transmountain expansion pipeline,” Carr said.
“This is in the national interest. We understand that we need access to foreign markets. Ninety-nine per cent of our exports of oil and gas go to one country — the United States.
“There is tremendous potential for our resources and we think that there is no reason for any unnecessary delay, And we’re very keen to get this project built as quickly as it can be.”
Carr said he expects to be in Alberta “very soon,” joking that sometimes he wishes air travel was quicker given his personal reasons to visit — close family in Alberta.