Prairie Priorities: Questions for the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for the Prairies

POP UP POLICY with the Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies and Gary Mar, President and CEO, Canada West Foundation

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Time: 12:00-1:00PM (MST) 2:00-3:00PM (EST)

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the position of Special Representative to the Prairies would get a seat at Cabinet and appointed the Honourable Jim Carr as Minister. On Tuesday, March 30, Canada West Foundation President and CEO Gary Mar sat down with Minister Carr for a frank conversation about what the minister’s role means in practical terms for the West, his plans to work with other ministries to elevate the priorities of the Prairie provinces to the Cabinet table, and his priority policy areas. Minister Carr answered questions about the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the federal carbon price and what it means for federalism; challenges in the oil and gas industry and the road ahead for unemployed workers; the state of Canada’s trade infrastructure; a continental energy strategy and more.


The Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies

The Honourable Jim Carr is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Special Representative for the Prairies. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre in 2015 and was appointed Minister of Natural Resources in 2015 and Minister of International Trade Diversification in 2018. He has been a dedicated business and community leader in Winnipeg for more than 30 years. A former professional musician and columnist, Minister Carr entered public life in 1988, when he was elected to represent Fort Rouge in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. He later went on to become the founding CEO of the Business Council of Manitoba, where he worked alongside business leaders to address issues critical to Manitobans and Canadians. In particular, Minister Carr was one of the architects of the ‘Winnipeg Consensus’ process, which brought together Canadian think tanks and energy leaders, and informed the Canadian Energy Strategy released in 2015 by Canada’s provinces and territories.

Minister Carr was the founding co-chair of the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council and was a member of the board of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Canada West Foundation, and the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba. Minister Carr’s community leadership has earned him numerous awards, including the Canada 125 Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Order of Manitoba.

Gary G. Mar, Q.C., President and CEO, Canada West Foundation

Gary Mar was named President and CEO of the Foundation in April 2020. He brings deep experience in government and business, and established expertise in CWF’s key policy areas in natural resources, trade and investment and human capital. Prior to joining the CWF, Gary served as President and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), the national trade association representing the service, supply and manufacturing sectors within the upstream petroleum industry. A former lawyer, Gary also has broad experience in government having served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Province of Alberta from 1993-2007 where he held several Cabinet portfolios – Community Development; Health and Wellness; Education; Environment; and International and Intergovernmental Relations. Gary then served as the Official Representative (Minister-Counselor) of the Province of Alberta at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C., from 2007 – 2011. He worked extensively with the Alberta energy sector on advocacy issues in Washington DC and many U.S. States. Gary next served as the Province of Alberta’s Representative in Asia from 2011 to 2015. He led the province’s strategic outreach efforts from his post in Hong Kong and worked with Alberta’s offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei. Following his government service, Gary was an independent consultant working for both Chinese and Canadian companies seeking assistance with trans Pacific trade and investment. In 2016, he co-founded Canadian Advantage Petroleum Corporation. Gary has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta School of Business in Marketing, Business Economics and Law beginning July 1, 2020. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne Business School.