Winnipeg South Centre constituency report
Jim Carr is the Liberal MP for Winnipeg South Centre.
Recent articles of Jim Carr
In February I tabled my private member’s bill, C-235: Building a Green Prairie Economy. Every level of government worked together in the interest of Canadians during the first months of the pandemic and bill C-235 takes its inspiration from this and efforts like it. Governments worked together and acted quickly to protect public health and support Canadians through economic hardship. The quick and decisive action sent a message to Canadians that we can overcome challenges when we work together — it was the work of responsible government in action.
The Building a Green Prairie Economy act builds on this spirit, giving the minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada a mandate and framework to consult with provincial, First Nation, Métis, and municipal governments, businesses, and civil society to prepare for changes to ensure we meet our net-zero emissions aim by 2050.
The Prairies hold so much potential for the future of Canada’s green economy. For example, in Winnipeg South Centre, Carbon Lock Technologies is building a carbon capture and storage prototype to turn household food waste into solutions for agriculture sustainability. Alberta is already the largest hydrogen producer in Canada and can bring this clean, low-cost energy to Canada and the global market. The Prairie region grows the food that feeds the world, and I know the Prairies can also fuel the world.
In April, I spoke in the House of Commons about Budget 2022: A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable. The budget recognizes this is the moment for Canada to become a global leader in clean energy. Investments in low-carbon industries and innovative technologies such as carbon capture and storage, and clean hydrogen today will help workers and the economy and protect the planet. Additional priorities of this budget include affordable housing, dental care, affordable childcare, protecting freshwater resources and so much more.
The Government of Canada is off to a busy start with the first session of the 44th Canadian Parliament. The government’s first order of business was bill C-4 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy). On Dec.1, the House of Commons unanimously passed the bill. It passed in the Senate and on Dec. 8, it received royal assent. The degrading practise of conversion therapy is now banned. The rights of LGBTQ2+ Canadians are human rights, and the government is committed to building a safer world for everyone.
Respect for human rights and freedoms and the rule of law are essential to the health of democracies around the world. At this month’s Summit for Democracy, the prime minister was emphatic that democracy cannot be taken for granted. The prime minister reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to working with institutions that defend democracy, including governments, journalists, academics, and leaders of civil society to keep authoritarian powers at bay.
Further to this, the prime minister announced Canada’s contribution of $5 million in funding to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Canada also committed $1 million to each of the Global Equality Fund, the International Religious Freedom Fund and the Lifeline Embattled CSO Fund, all of which focus on protecting LGBTQ2+ persons, religious minorities, and civil society organizations.
The first snow has fallen, blanketing our neighbourhoods, marking the return of winter to the Prairies. This week also marks my return to Ottawa and the opening of a new session of Parliament.
Voters have placed their trust in 160 Liberal members of Parliament to represent their interests and tackle issues critical to Canada’s future. We are welcoming new MPs from Calgary and Edmonton, having earned the trust of voters in important Prairie ridings.
The Government of Canada has a strong mandate from Canadians to meet our greatest challenges with bold policies. This means finishing the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with a vaccine strategy that has already saved countless lives. This means safeguarding and improving our public health care system and understanding we have a responsibility to take the lessons learned from this experience and develop a robust strategy for pandemic preparedness — and it does not stop there.
Already, agreements have been signed with Manitoba and eight other provinces and territories to deliver a 50 per cent cut in childcare fees next year and achieve $10 per day childcare by 2024. Every child deserves to have the best start in life and we are doing this by making sure families have access to affordable, safe, and high-quality child care. Affordable childcare will make it possible for more Canadians to enter the workforce, especially women who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Thank you for your continued support and warm wishes throughout the election. I am grateful to everyone who went to the polls on election day and made the choice to move forward. I feel positive and energized about the future and continuing the important work you have entrusted to me.
On Oct. 21, I took the oath of allegiance to the sovereign, a ceremony every duly elected member participates in prior to taking their seats in the House of Commons. Each member pledges to carry out their duties and conduct themselves in a manner that best serves the interests of the country — in other words, I commit to upholding and defending our institutions and democracy itself.
Throughout the election, I knocked on doors and listened to the residents of Winnipeg South Centre. Hearing directly from you confirmed that climate change is top-of-mind for many Canadians. Indeed, it is the challenge of multiple generations and we have the responsibility to act with bold and progressive polices to secure the planet for the future.
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will be attending the United Nations climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12. The purpose of COP26 is for the international community to work together to accelerate actions every nation must take to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Treaty.
In Canada, our diversity is one of our greatest strengths; however, I understand our nation is not immune to racism, xenophobia, and discrimination.
We continue to see communities shaken by terrible hate-motivated criminal acts which are an assault on fundamental rights and freedoms. Recently, Pembina Highway businesses owned by people from diverse backgrounds were defiled by hate graffiti. In London, Ont., the unthinkable happened; four members of a Muslim family were killed and a young child left without his mother and father, his sister, and his grandmother.
I denounce all acts of hatred, racism, and discrimination in the strongest possible terms, and I call on every Canadian to denounce hate speech when they witness it. There is no place in Canada for hatred of any kind. It is contrary to the core values of respect, equality, diversity, and inclusivity we are privileged to enjoy in a free and open society.
Building on Canada’s $45 million investment in the 2019-2022 anti-racism strategy, the National Summit on anti-Semitism, and the National Summit on Islamophobia were held on July 21 and July 22.
We are horrified and heartbroken over the recent discovery of the unmarked graves of children found at the sites of former Indian residential schools.
We reflect on our country’s past and we mourn with the Cowessess and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nations, and with all Indigenous communities across Canada. These discoveries are part of the wider tragedy of the Indian residential school system in Canada.
Every child has the right to grow up in the safe and loving embrace of his or her family and community.
Indigenous children across Canada were denied this. Their communities were robbed of the delight of watching them grow and the children were robbed of their languages, cultures and identities connecting them to home. The loneliness and fear experienced by the children who were subjected to this treatment is unimaginable. The legacy of violence and harm inflicted on Indigenous children at residential schools is still felt today by survivors, families, and communities.
The warm Manitoba summer weather has well and truly settled in now as we are at the start of June.
Many of us will have taken the opportunity to spend time planning our garden beds or container gardens and putting the first flash of brightly coloured flowers in place. For some of us it has been a source of solace during a very challenging time in the fight against COVID-19. Our province has been hit hard during a time when our communities have spent more than a year struggling in ways most of us will have never experienced or even imagined.
The Government of Canada is committed to doing what it takes to get Manitoba through this devastating third wave of the pandemic. It is an objective we share with the Government of Manitoba. We are their partners in the fight to protect the health of all Canadians and to bring an end to the devastating social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two weeks ago, the Government of Canada responded to a request for assistance from Manitoba and provided several different supports to the province. We have deployed epidemiologists and laboratory technicians to help increase testing capacity. Statistics Canada has provided an additional 50 interviewers to help Manitoba with contact tracing. The Canadian Armed Forces will continue their work to support vaccine rollout in up to 23 on-reserve First Nations communities in Manitoba throughout the month of June.
On April 19 our government presented the expansive and ambitious Budget 2021. In my role as the Prime Minister’s special representative for the Prairies I have been speaking with prairie city mayors and business councils, taking part in round-table discussions on early learning and child care, and making announcements on green technology investments.
These engagements enable me to know the depth and diversity of talent in our prairie provinces.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that we must strengthen our ability to respond to large-scale health emergencies. We need to increase Canada’s capacity for research and development and manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutic treatments. Budget 2021 makes it a priority to do exactly this with proposed investments of more than $2 billion over seven years - investment in building up capacity in Canada’s life sciences and bio-manufacturing sector.
The investment will support training for researchers, procurement of cutting-edge equipment and development of the highly sophisticated infrastructure needed for safe and effective medical labs.
With the arrival of spring, we look forward to spending more time outside, enjoying our neighbourhoods blooming back to life.
While the return of mild weather fills us with hope, we remember the past year has been difficult for everyone and especially hard on people who have been isolated. Isolation has been a problem for older adults. Our government is committed to helping seniors stay connected and living full lives. Through initiatives such as the New Horizons for Seniors program, we fund projects that improve the health and wellbeing of older adults.
Last week, on behalf of Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors, I announced funding of $97,000 for the Rainbow Resource Centre to continue with the Tri-City Project to Engage 2SLGBTQ+ Older Adults. Through this project, the Rainbow Resource Centre, in partnership with others, helped LGBTQ2 seniors in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton keep connected in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. With COVID-19 still a risk, the work needs to continue.
The Rainbow Resource Centre, located on Scott Street in Fort Rouge, has long been a strong advocate and service centre for Winnipeg’s 2SLGBTQ+ people. And in response to the pandemic, its committed staff quickly adapted its programs to the online platforms. In bringing the Tri-City Project to Engage 2SLGBTQ+ Older Adults online, many 2SLGBTQ+ older adults were helped to stay connected to others and prevent social isolation.
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep our communities safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, the daily number of new COVID-19 infections has dropped. This is good news; it shows our collective efforts to stay home and avoid non-essential travel are working. Local restrictions are easing, and I am sure you are looking forward to visiting favourite restaurants, museums and local shops again. As always, continue following the instructions of our local health authority and doing the basics of wearing a mask and social distancing.
Fighting the pandemic remains the top priority of the federal government. So far, more than 1.2 million vaccines have been distributed to the provinces and territories. Beginning this week, Canada can expect Pfizer to deliver hundreds of thousands of vaccines on a weekly basis going forward. There are also new vaccine candidates in the approval process.
You can feel confident that the committed experts at Health Canada are working non-stop to thoroughly review new vaccine candidates to ensure their effectiveness and safety. Canada is on target to have a vaccine available to everyone by September.
For as long as this situation lasts, the federal government will support those individuals, families and businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. In Manitoba alone more than 280,000 loans have been provided to businesses, worth a total of $1.06 billion through the Canada Emergency Business Account. More than 165,000 jobs have been protected by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy; and the Canada Recovery Benefit disbursed more than $217 million to support 48,840 Manitobans.
As we say goodbye to 2020, some of us with excitement that the year is finally behind us, we look ahead with growing optimism. Science has responded swiftly, and vaccines are rolling out with the appropriate priority, being vulnerable citizens in long-term care homes. It’s a great comfort to know that front-line responders, nurses, doctors and others within the health care system will be protected early to keep their patients safe.
After vaccines have helped to protect our communities, restrictions will ease and there will be a return to more normal economic activity.
This will likely be an uneven process as the vaccine aids in building our immunity. The Government of Canada will continue to formulate a stimulus package that will be unveiled by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in the spring. As your member of Parliament, I want to know what you think the government’s priorities ought to be. Our objective is to stimulate a return to robust economic activity by supporting individuals and industries who have been affected by the pandemic and to ensure that our focus is on preserving and creating jobs for Canadians.
On Sat., Jan. 30, I will be holding a town hall meeting, virtually, of course. Town hall meetings are a good way for me to hear your views and answer your questions. My constituency staff can provide further details and my website and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages also provide details of the event. I invite you to join me.
Season’s greetings and thanks to neighbours in Winnipeg South Centre and to all Manitobans. Thank you for your resilience, your determination and most of all your commitment to keeping yourselves, your loved ones and our communities safe in the face of the global pandemic and a year unlike any other in our lifetime.
Our front-line and essential-service workers have kept up tirelessly to make sure shelves remain stocked with food and other necessities. Teachers and childcare workers have kept facilities open and the education and well-being of our children and grandchildren remains a top priority. Our health-care workers, caregivers, nurses and doctors have looked after the physical and mental health of our communities — while putting their own health and lives at risk. Their efforts and dedication have sustained communities across the county and around the world and I am grateful for each one of them.
The COVID-19 pandemic radically changed how we work, how we socialize and how we connect with our friends and loved ones. While the pandemic has meant separation, it has united us in an unprecedented global effort to solve the most serious health crisis of our lifetime. Medical researchers around the world have worked with incredible dedication and ingenuity to make medical breakthroughs by developing COVID-19 vaccines in record time. On Dec. 9, Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in Canada, offering a glimmer of hope in what has been an uncertain time.
With the holiday season now upon us, we must continue to adapt our routines for a while yet, stay the course and observe all recommended public health guidelines. I understand the holiday season is going to look and feel different this year. Please remain steadfast and remember this season is also one of peace and quiet reflection, something we can all use to help ourselves and one another through this difficult time.
We are amid a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with cases breaking daily records far too often.
Our health care services are being stretched to capacity and are at risk of becoming overburdened. Health-care workers are providing an essential service to our community and are saving lives — which puts them in harm’s way. We have a responsibility to support them in their work and keep them safe by controlling the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
As of early November, the federal government had distributed more than one billion pieces of PPE, including face shields, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, non-medical and surgical masks and ventilators for the health-care sector, federal government departments and agencies and the Essential Services Contingency Reserve. This is over and above the efforts of the provinces and territories to secure their own PPE supplies.
Encouragingly, it has been reported that potential COVID-19 vaccines are getting good results in clinical trials. In order to secure enough doses of a successful vaccine candidate, the federal government has signed agreements with AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and others. These agreements will give Canada access to up to 358 million doses of a successful vaccine — enough for every Canadian and enough for us to support the global fight against the pandemic.
The leaves have fallen, and we are nearing the close of a year none of us are likely to forget. The change of season reminds us that time marches forward. Millions of Canadians feel this and wonder what the future will bring. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our family lives, our social lives and our working lives. Business owners continue to think about their future and that of their employees.
The Government of Canada understood from the beginning that quick decision-making at the start of the pandemic was necessary to protect the health and safety of Canadians and the survival of Canadian businesses. The federal government recognized the need to be flexible, responding to the changing landscape of these unprecedented circumstances.
At every turn the Government of Canada has listened to you. You have expressed your worry and the challenges you face, every day. It is the responsibility of our government to listen, to understand and to act.
As you heard in the throne speech, our government remains committed to helping businesses, charities and non-profits through this year and extending support well into 2021. This month Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister and finance minister, announced how our government will do this.
No Canadian has lived through times such as these. The pandemic has affected all our lives directly or indirectly. It governs who we see and at what distance we can see them. It requires extraordinary measures to protect ourselves and each other.
The Sept. 23 throne speech recognizes how turbulent and unprecedented the moment is by contemplating major investments in Canadians, our businesses and our communities. The Prime Minister said this from day one of this pandemic, and it was repeated throughout the throne speech, that protecting Canadians is our most important priority.
Economic resilience and the care for our people are part of the same strategy. The best example is child care — the need for a much-expanded national childcare program. As the throne speech said, you should not have to choose between kids and careers.
Our economic future depends on a healthy workforce, education and training programs appropriate for the times and appreciation that we will rebuild a greener and sustainable economy. Relying on the entrepreneurship and the energy of the private sector, supported by government at all levels, job creation is the way we earn the income to distribute fairly to Canadians.
In the last months, COVID-19 has been all-consuming in our lives. While keeping our eye on the ball that is COVID-19, we’re now engaging more on the issues of the day.
Protests in Winnipeg and across Canada have raised awareness of the racism experienced daily by so many Canadians. We need to acknowledge that racism in our country is systemic. We need to recognize systemic racism is a root cause of inequality that is both social and economic.
All of us need to be sensitive to it and do something about it. On June 2, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that our government has “created the anti-racism secretariat, which has a $4.6 million budget to eliminate systemic barriers that perpetuate injustice, notably in employment, justice and social participation.”
Two weeks ago, Bill Blair, the minister of public safety said, “First Nations policing must be made an essential service — something Indigenous leaders have been pressing the federal government to do.”
The past few weeks have been challenging and the weeks ahead will be equally difficult as we continue our fight against COVID-19.
We have all felt its impact on our lives and this remains an extremely fluid situation. The virus continues to spread, around the world and within Canada and our province. As your voice in Ottawa and as a member of the Winnipeg South Centre community, I want you to know our government has responded to the crisis with a variety of measures as the situation has evolved and the number of cases continued to grow.
I want to thank our hard-working doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals and first responders. Our collective strength means the federal government can move quickly and decisively to help Canadians flatten the curve and overcome COVID-19.
Canada is in a strong position to handle this. Our response has been, and will continue to be, based on science and evidence and guided by world-class health professionals and authorities.
On Aug. 19, traffic on Waverley Street began operating through the newly constructed underpass for the first time.
Like many of you, I am excited that pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists will no longer experience train delays at the railway crossing. It is expected that 30,000 vehicles will travel through the newly constructed underpass on a daily basis. I am pleased that the Government of Canada is investing in infrastructure to help everyone in Winnipeg get where they need to go safely and efficiently.
These vital improvements to the Waverley Street underpass will greatly reduce congestion in the city. Keeping people and goods moving smoothly is essential to helping our businesses compete and improve Winnipeggers’ quality of life. Working collaboratively with our partners, has paved the way for Winnipeg to be more accessible for everyone.
Our government is giving Winnipeggers the ability to make greener choices to reduce their carbon footprint. Here in Manitoba, revenue from carbon pricing will be reinvested into our province, under the Low Carbon Economy Fund, which opens up $67 million in funding. Through these investments, Canada has positioned itself as a global leader in clean growth, illustrating to the world that a clean environment and a strong economy is possible.