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This article was published 2/10/2019 (665 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s "report card season" for the incumbent MP in Winnipeg South Centre.
Jim Carr, 67, is running for re-election in the federal riding under the Liberal banner.
"I find the job of representing my neighbours and the people with whom I grew up to be both a privilege and a pleasure, and challenging," Carr said. "I think that we accomplished a lot in our first four-year mandate but there’s a lot more work to do."
Using a grading analogy, Carr said it’s time for voters to look at his record and platform and assess his performance.
"They’ll make the most important choice that anyone makes in a democracy; they’ll put an X on a ballot," he said.
Carr was first elected to Parliament in 2015 when the Liberals, under Justin Trudeau, swept the country to form a majority government.
The Crescentwood local was no stranger to political life at the time, previously serving as Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Liberals in Fort Rouge from 1988 to 1990 and from 1990 to 1992 for Crescentwood.
He was also the founding president and chief executive officer of the Business Council of Manitoba before heading east to Ottawa.
In his first term as MP, Carr was tapped by prime minister Trudeau to serve as Minister of Natural Resources, a position he held until 2018 when a cabinet shuffle moved him into the International Trade Diversification portfolio. At the dissolution of Parliament, Carr was the lone cabinet minister from Manitoba.
Steering two high profile offices isn’t without its share of criticism and conflict. Under Carr, the Liberal government approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, ultimately purchasing the pipeline project from the Texas-based energy company. Locally, the decisions inspired climate activists to protest Carr’s community town halls and stage sit-ins at his constituency office.
Carr said he respects the right of people to express dissent and protest.
"When people choose to express a view that’s different than the policy of the government, we have the obligation to hear them out," Carr said. "I continue to have conversations with those to hear why it is they would do things differently."
The natural resources file was further inflamed by opposition to oil and gas projects from Indigenous communities and leadership along the Trans Mountain pathway, and in northern British Columbia along the route of a pipeline proposed to carry liquid natural gas to an export facility near Kitimat.
"The Trans Mountain expansion project was very difficult and it continues to be ongoing," Carr said. "I’m confident that the Trans Mountain expansion will be built.
"Every penny of profit from the Trans Mountain expansion will be used to invest in renewable sources of energy," he said.
"Trying to get accommodation and consultation right with Indigenous peoples is very important," Carr added. "It’s important that we understand that Indigenous partnerships are essential in any natural resource projects in Canada and we’re still learning the best way of accommodating and consulting."
Since moving into the trade file, Carr said navigating Brexit and the canola dispute with China have proven to be challenging moments, and consultation is continuing with China and the World Trade Organization.
"Trade is full of opportunity, but it’s also full of challenges that emerge from time to time," he said.
When asked how he believes past photos and videos of the prime minister appearing in black and brown face may affect foreign relations, Carr said he can’t speak for other countries.
"I can just reiterate what the prime minister has said. I’ve had conversations with some of my colleagues internationally on important issues, this one has not come up. And I expect that it will be business as usual."
Carr said his self-assessment of the past four years has its accomplishments, including the restoration of the Churchill rail line and port; providing funding for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Canada’s Diversity Gardens and other cultural institutions; supporting local infrastructure; and ironing out trade agreements with Israel, Europe and Pacific nations.
If re-elected, Carr said his goal for the constituency is for residents to feel connected to the federal government by being an "attentive" MP, and nationally he wants the government to continue to promote inclusiveness and liberal democracy.
"Compare where we have taken the country and where we intend to take it with what others are saying," he said.
The federal election is Oct. 21.
Other candidates in Winnipeg South Centre include Elizabeth Shearer (NDP), Joyce Bateman (Conservative), Jane MacDiarmid (PPC), James Beddome (Green), and Linda Marynuk (CHP). The Green Party campaign did not respond to a request for interview by deadline.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.