Manitoba political, business leaders mourn MP Jim Carr

Jim Carr, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's special representative for the Prairies, speaks to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce in Calgary on January 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Manitobans from across the political spectrum are mourning the death of a well-known local figure.

Jim Carr, who served as MP for Winnipeg South Centre since 2015, died Monday after a long battle with multiple myeloma and kidney failure. He was 71.

During his time in Ottawa, Carr served as Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of International Trade Diversification in the government of Justin Trudeau. Although he stepped down from his ministerial roles after his cancer diagnosis in 2019, Carr was named as the prime minister’s special representative to the Prairies, and returned to cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio in 2021.

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Saint Boniface—Saint Vital MP Dan Vandal, a friend and colleague of Carr’s, said in a statement Monday afternoon that Carr was a mentor to him.

“Jim was a loving husband and father and a devoted Parliamentarian,” Vandal said.

“I had the pleasure to work with Jim for many years and there was no one more dedicated to his city of Winnipeg, his beloved province of Manitoba and to his country – the prairies was truly Jim’s passion.

“As he said last week in the House of Commons when his Bill C-235 passed third reading, he loved every square inch of this country, and he proved it not only in his work, but in his daily life.

“The world has lost a giant today – a true statesman. My thoughts are with his family, friends and loved ones at this very difficult time.”

Winnipeg North MP Kevin Lamoureux, who called Carr a “dear friend”, told Global News they had worked together in Ottawa for years, but first met in provincial politics more than three decades ago.

“I’ve had the privilege of knowing Jim for many years,” Lamoureux said.

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“We were actually (both) first elected back in 1988… back then Jim inspired me. Whether it was 30-plus years ago or just last week, Jim inspires.

“He was a true Winnipegger, someone I’m very, very proud to have called a friend. Even in the darkest moments, he could provide the silver lining and make you feel good.”

Lamoureux said while Carr’s friends and colleagues had known he was sick for years, his death Monday came as a surprise to Parliament.

Before venturing into federal politics, Carr was a Liberal MLA in the Manitoba legislature from 1988 to 1992, representing Tuxedo, then Crescentwood.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson offered her condolences to Carr’s family in a tweet, which also highlighted his legacy of support for his community.

“I always admired his unfailing commitment to the betterment of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Canada,” the premier wrote.

Provincial party leaders Wab Kinew (NDP) and Dougald Lamont (Liberal) also tweeted out condolences, and as Monday afternoon progressed, Carr’s colleagues, admirers and counterparts from all levels of government — inside and outside of Manitoba did the same.

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After resigning his seat in 1992, Carr moved on to a number of high-profile roles, including as president and CEO of the Business Council of Manitoba, which he co-founded.

Carr won his Winnipeg South Centre seat by a large margin in 2015, and was diagnosed with cancer the day after his 2019 re-election. He was re-elected to a third term in 2021.

A statement from Carr’s family Monday said he had been undergoing dialysis treatments and chemotherapy over the course of his illness, and he also received a bone marrow transplant.

His constituency office on Corydon Avenue will remain open until a new MP is elected.

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Click to play video: 'Jim Carr, Liberal MP and former minister, dies at 71'
Jim Carr, Liberal MP and former minister, dies at 71

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