Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, it was a shock on Monday to learn of the passing of Jim Carr. A proud Manitoban, Canadian, member of Parliament and former cabinet minister, he had the best interests of all at heart.
In each of his careers, he built on his myriad of skills and interests, and was a true Renaissance man.
I met Jim 50 years ago. He was working in communications for Manitoba’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Cultural Affairs, Mary Elizabeth Bayer. I was organizing an exhibition for her to send to France. Jim was my public relations go-to person.
Jim was a superlative oboist and played with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He also served as CEO of the Manitoba Arts Council. He was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, founder of the Business Council of Manitoba, adviser to the University of Manitoba and, most recently, a member of Parliament and cabinet minister.
Our work, friends and lives overlapped for many years, more so when he was in the other place and I was here in the Senate. I was delighted that he agreed to sponsor Bill S-208, an act respecting the declaration on the essential role of artists and creative expression in Canada. He spoke of a Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra quartet visiting his Grade 3 class and its transformational effect on him. My experience, also in my Grade 3 class, was similar with a visit from the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
He well knew the importance of the arts, the challenges of arts cultural organizations and the very real needs of artists themselves. Those issues were the focus of many of our conversations in committee, in the airport and over lunch, along with conversations about our magnificent province.
Colleagues, I will miss this bridge builder, this author of a book on Senator Charles Dufferin “Duff” Roblin, this legislator who bridged our province to others and to the federal government, this community leader who bridged the arts and business, business and government and community and universities and this proud Jewish man who built interfaith bridges in Manitoba, on Parliament Hill and internationally.
Jim adored his family, and he smiled broadly when he talked about his grandchildren. In our last chat less than two weeks ago, he was looking forward to their Carr family holiday celebrations and an upcoming trip to Mexico with his wife, Colleen.
My heart goes out to his wife, Colleen, his children, grandchildren and many, many friends.
Thank you, Jim — dear friend, dear colleague — for your years of giving in so many ways to our community at home and nationwide.