On the heels of being re-elected Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre, Jim Carr has announced he is fighting cancer.
"I am feeling well, my spirits are high," Carr said in an Oct. 25 statement. "I spoke to the prime minister and reiterated my commitment to continue serving all my constituents and all Canadians."
The 68-year-old Liberal politician from Crescentwood said that, after experiencing flu-like symptoms for weeks, he was instructed by his doctor to get routine blood work done.
On the evening of Oct. 21, as election results were coming in across the country, his doctor advised him to go to the Health Sciences Centre on Tuesday for further testing, the result of which was a diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that starts in the plasma cells, and as abnormal plasma cells multiply, it makes it difficult for other blood cells in the bone marrow to develop and work normally.
"This has also affected my kidney function. I have begun chemotherapy and dialysis treatment, which will continue for the near future," Carr said. "My family and I want to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff at the Health Sciences Centre for the care that I am receiving. We appreciate everyone’s respect for our privacy at this time."
Carr was re-elected in his home riding with 22,106 votes, or 45.2 per cent, according to unofficial results.
He was first elected MP in Winnipeg South Centre in 2015, defeating Conservative incumbent Joyce Bateman. The swing riding has been represented by both Conservatives and Liberals historically, and was considered a must-win riding for the Liberals. Carr was the lone Manitoba cabinet minister at the dissolution of the previous Parliament.
Bateman, 64, who served as MP from 2011 to 2015, had hoped to earn back her seat in the House of Commons last week, and ran a campaign championing the Conservative Party of Canada’s plans for tax breaks as well as her own political efforts in getting the new Waverley underpass built.
Carr managed to hold off Bateman’s campaign, the closest competitor in the six-way race.
"I never take an election for granted," Carr said on election night. "I’m in the school that always says you’re a couple of votes behind. What you do is make sure that no one works harder than you.
"You behave with integrity and the chips will fall."
Reached by phone at her campaign headquarters at the Hilton Garden Inn in Tuxedo, Bateman thanked her supporters and volunteers.
"We had an incredible team of volunteers and we celebrate the team of volunteers that we had," Bateman said. "We were blown away that so many young people became a part of this movement, during the campaign, and we learned from them."
Bateman earned 14,565 votes, or 29.8 per cent. According to Elections Canada, voter turnout in the riding was 68.8 per cent.
Rounding out the results, rookie New Democratic Party candidate Elizabeth Shearer came in third, with 8,601 votes, followed by Green Party of Canada candidate James Beddome (3,042), People’s Party of Canada candidate Jane MacDiarmid (540), and Christian Heritage Party candidate Linda Marynuk (98).
Carr’s campaign said he was unavailable for an interview, but in a statement last week on Facebook, he thanked volunteers, supporters and fellow candidates in Winnipeg South Centre.
"Representing our community in Ottawa is a serious responsibility," he said. "Thank you for your continued trust in me."
In his first term as MP, Carr served as Minister of Natural Resources, a position he held until 2018 when a cabinet shuffle moved him into the International Trade Diversification portfolio.
Trudeau is expected to announce his cabinet on Nov. 20.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.