Mr. Speaker, on Monday, we lost Jim Carr. We heard the news a couple of hours later here in the House and held a moment of silence.
It is news that none of us wanted to hear, news that we were not expecting.
Jim was fighting multiple myeloma and kidney failure, but he always had energy and was able to bear a heavy burden.
Jim stood in the House last week and talked about how much he loved his country. He said, “I love this country, every square metre of it, in English, in French, in indigenous languages and in the languages of the newly arrived.”
He said this as part of one of his final moments in the House, which were marked by the triumph of passing his private member's bill, the building a green prairie economy act. It is an act that is about preserving a way of life in the Prairies and unleashing a new potential. It is an act that makes sure prairie people see themselves represented in national policy, and not just political leaders but workers' unions, indigenous people, farmers and businesses. It is an act that seeks to leave behind a healthier environment. It is an act of hope for the future and an act of love for his country.
It is also an act of courage. Jim understood that this would not be his future, but that it was ours, his kids' and his grandkids'.
In October, Jim told me that he was stopping treatment. It was a private moment in his hometown. Jim knew it was for the best, but he never let up on his commitment to serving Winnipeggers, western Canadians and all Canadians and to building a better future.
Each of us has only one life. Jim showed us how to live it right, how to live it with decency and integrity, how to give of ourselves to others and how to leave the world a better place than it was when we came into it.
We will miss Jim in caucus and at the cabinet table, but his family are the ones who will miss him most.
Jim embodied the unique set of characteristics that distinguish people from the Prairies: his clear-headedness, his pragmatism and his decency. Our government will forever be better for it. All the staff who worked for him were drawn in by his warmth, and the members of the public service too. Jim was a gentleman. He was a mentor. Jim was a friend to many. Jim was a great Canadian.
Jim dedicated himself to public service right up until the very end of his life, but Jim lived many lives and distinguished himself in many ways.
He was an oboist in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and he was passionate about music. He was a journalist and a strong believer in the essential role that a free press plays in a strong democracy. He was a devout believer of Jewish faith and a leader in his spiritual community.
Most importantly, he was a husband to Colleen; a father to Ben, Rachel, Rebecca, Kiernan, Daniel and Jesse; and a grandfather to Michelle, Sophia and Markian. To his family, I hope that the gratitude of all Canadians for Jim's service, thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity up until the very end can comfort you as you grieve. May his memory be a blessing.