Manitoba MP Jim Carr says he respects Trudeau’s decision to remove him from federal Cabinet


Jim Carr says he believes his two-year tenure as Justin Trudeau’s special envoy for the Prairies helped give the Liberals two more seats in last month’s federal election.

But if he’s hurt by the way the prime minister chose to thank him – by firing him from cabinet – he doesn’t show it.

“The Prime Minister is the only person with a 360 (degree) view of the country and the talent available to serve him and that is his decision. I respect that tradition,” Carr said in an interview.

“People will evaluate the decisions he made and, speaking only for me, I feel comfortable. Maybe the word is cold.”

Carr, a former member of the Manitoba legislature and chairman of the province’s business council, was considered a star when he ran for the Liberals in 2015 in Winnipeg South Center.

During Trudeau’s first term, he served as Minister of Natural Resources and then Minister of International Trade.

But a day after the 2019 election, Carr was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. He was kicked out of Trudeau’s post-election cabinet in the fall as he began receiving treatment, but was given a special representative role for the Prairies, where the Liberals retained just four seats in Manitoba and were completely excluded in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Carr returned to cabinet in January 2021 as a minister without portfolio, while retaining his special mission to the Prairies.

He was re-elected on September 20, along with three other Liberals in Manitoba and two in Alberta – a modest gain for the party, although he continued to be excluded in Saskatchewan.

“I’m glad we had some electoral success, of which I was only a small part,” Carr said of Alberta’s two new seats.

But on Tuesday, Carr’s name – along with the post of Prairies Special Envoy – was conspicuously absent from Trudeau’s latest cabinet roster.

Dan Vandal, Manitoba’s only minister

Manitoba has only one minister left, Dan Vandal for Northern Affairs, and Alberta has one, Randy Boissonnault, for the tourism portfolio.

The weight loss in the Manitoba cabinet has been criticized by former Liberal cabinet minister Lloyd Axworthy, who told the Winnipeg Free Press he feared the party would lose its only stronghold on the Prairies.

Although he and Axworthy are longtime friends and colleagues, Carr said they had not discussed Trudeau’s latest cabinet choices.

“Lloyd is an independent thinker and all he has to say is because he really believes in it,” he said.

Manitoba Premier Kelvin Goertzen also spoke out, calling his province’s reduced weight “disappointing” and arguing that “Western Canada needs to be better represented at the Cabinet table”.

The four western provinces have six ministers, the same as the four Atlantic provinces. New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador each have two ministers, although they are considerably smaller than any of the Prairie provinces.

But Carr said it was “an arithmetic way of looking” at it.

Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault of Alberta joins Dan Vandal of Manitoba as the only member of the Trudeau cabinet on the Prairies. (Terry Reith / CBC)

“The intricacies of building a cabinet require the prime minister to consider many things and ultimately make decisions. And people will agree or disagree, but I think what remains the reality of our system of government is that it is its prerogative, ”he said. .

He argued that the Prairies are well represented by Vandal, who he says is also responsible for a new Prairies Economic Development Agency, a spin-off from the old agency that dealt with the four western provinces.

Boissonnault, he added, is an “excellent choice”, a bilingual, a “great communicator” and “an Albertan from start to finish”.

Still, Carr did not deny that he wanted to be reappointed to Cabinet.

“I think every Member of Parliament hopes to be a member of Cabinet and I have had the honor and privilege of being a member of Cabinet for many years.”

I am energetic. My cancer treatment is showing very positive results and there is every reason to believe that I will be able to enjoy all the pleasures of life to the full for some time.– Jim Carr

As to why he was left out, Carr, who just turned 70, said: “I think renewal was at the heart of the cornerstone of this firm and other than that I have nothing directly from the Prime Minister or others to know exactly what were the intricacies of his decision-making. But that is what he decided to do and I accept it. “

The most important thing in Carr’s life right now is his health, which he says is “good”.

“I am energetic. My cancer treatment is showing very positive results and there is every reason to believe that I will be able to enjoy all the pleasures of life to the full for some time.”

For Carr, those pleasures include continuing to represent Winnipeg South Center, where he has lived most of his life.

“I am now thinking about the next chapter of my life and how I can use the values, friendships, relationships, successes, failures of public life to make me a better parliamentarian,” he said. declared.

“I look forward to taking my seat in the House of Commons and finding the issues that matter most to me.”

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