Jim Carr, a Liberal MP from Winnipeg and former cabinet minister, died Monday at the age of 71.
A “dedicated elected official,” among many titles, his family said in a statement, Carr represented Winnipeg South Centre since first being elected in 2015.
Carr held various roles in office, including minister of natural resources and minister of international trade diversification between 2015 and 2019. He later served as the special representative for the Prairies in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in 2021.
Carr had been fighting multiple myeloma and kidney failure since 2019, his family said. Since then, Carr had received dialysis treatments, chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
“Over the past three years, he fought these diseases bravely and courageously with the incredible support of his staff, colleagues and loved ones,” the statement read.
“Right up until the very end of his remarkable life, he was fighting for Winnipeggers, Manitobans and Canadians.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet that the Liberals have lost a “valued member,” while Canada has lost “a dedicated Parliamentarian.”
“Jim Carr’s passion, tenacity, integrity, humour, and commitment to the Prairies were second to none – and we’ll miss him dearly,” he wrote.
In comments to journalists later on Monday, Trudeau said Carr was an extraordinary man who was incredibly thoughtful about Canada and dedicated his work for a better future for all Canadians.
“He was committed to every corner of this country.”
“His legacy will be one of service, one of thoughtful leadership, one of deep and abiding passion for this country and for its people, along with a real commitment of thoughtful solutions to bring people together,” said Trudeau. “He will be forever missed.”
His death was announced in the House of Commons Monday afternoon by Winnipeg North MP Kevin Lamoureux, who asked the House for a moment of silence before question period was scheduled to begin. However, the sitting was suspended after the announcement of Carr’s death.
It was scheduled to resume on Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET.
In their statement, Carr’s family said he died at home surrounded by family and loved ones. It went on to say Carr is being remembered as being loved and respected “by so many and we know he will be profoundly missed.”
In announcing his death, Lamoureux briefly reflected on Carr’s “passion for his country,” referencing a speech he made last week.
According to his website, Carr was an active volunteer for several organizations. He was the founding co-chair of the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, and had served on several boards including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Canada West Foundation, and the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba.
Carr began his professional life as a musician, as an oboist and trustee with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He later moved to journalism, working as an editorial writer and columnist with the Winnipeg Free Press as well as for CBC Radio, his website said.
Carr began public life in 1988, when he was elected to represent Fort Rouge in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. He served as deputy leader of his party.
Carr later went on to become the founding CEO of the Business Council of Manitoba, where he worked alongside business leaders to address issues to Manitobans and Canadians. Carr’s website describes him as “one of the architects of the ‘Winnipeg Consensus’ process, which brought together Canadian think tanks and energy leaders and informed the Canadian Energy Strategy in 2015.”
His family said in their statement Carr’s constituency office will remain open to serve residents, and that a memorial service would be announced in the coming days.
How is Jim Carr being remembered? 'Defender of Prairie interests''
Liberal MP Terry Duguid, who represents the riding of Winnipeg South, said it’s a very sad day for the Canadian Parliament and for Manitobans, that they have lost “a great defender of Prairie interests.”
Duguid said he “was so happy” for Carr and for the Prairies when Carr’s bill, An Act Respecting the Building of a Green Economy in the Prairies, passed the House of Commons last week. It is now in the Senate.
“I know he had put everything together that despite him being ill, this is a testament to his courage and his passion for the Prairies,” said Duguid. “I know Jim will be watching and I know he will be very proud that he is able to leave us this important legacy.”
James Bezan, Conservative MP for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman in Manitoba, said “it’s still a shock” for many to see Carr ” pass so quickly after just seeing him last week.”
“He’s somebody that I respected — not always agreed with — but a gentleman at all times,” said Bezan, who said he had known Carr since 1989 when Carr was an MLA.
“We lost a real champion of democracy and someone who always fought for Manitoba and the Prairies.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly described Carr as a “bridge-builder” who believed in “the positive change that politics can bring.”
“He was very proud of Winnipeg,” said Joly. “I think Canadians will remember him as a strong voice for the Prairies and a strong voice of positive change.”
Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay, said on Twitter that Carr was a “class act.”
Erin O’Toole, former leader of the federal Conservative Party, said in his own statement that Carr was “honourable and very well respected on all sides.”