Jim Carr as natural resources minister gets early positive reviews from oilpatch

A lobby group for the oil industry says it had to Google Jim Carr when he was named as Canada’s new natural resources minister.

Manitoba MP has reputation as bridge builder, Canada West Foundation boss says

Winnipeg MP Jim Carr is the new natural resources minister. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

A lobby group for the oil industry says it had to Google Jim Carr when he was named Canada's new natural resources minister.

Mark Scholz, treasurer of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, says what he does know about the Winnipeg MP he learned from his bio on the federal government website.

"From a positive note, he does have a very strong business background and expertise," he said.

Carr has a diverse background. He is a former editorial board member of the Winnipeg Free Press, a former Liberal MLA, he headed the Business Council of Manitoba and he was an oboist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

According to Dylan Jones, head of the Canada West Foundation, Carr is known for hammering out common ground when environmental and economic concerns clash. 

He gained that reputation when he was with the Winnipeg Consensus – a collection of think tanks that created the spark for the Canadian Energy Strategy, which was agreed to by the provincial governments in 2012.

"And we need a minister who is able to build bridges and in my opinion, Jim Carr is exactly the right sort of person," he said.

"You know, it's a tough challenge, I don't think it's going to be easy, but he brings a lot of the skills to the table."

Steve Laut, president of Canadian Natural Resources, said he's heard good things about Carr.

Laut also said the decision to add "climate change" to the environment minister's title just shows how important the issue is to the new government  — a notion he supports.

Some have argued if Canada takes a tougher approach to climate change, it may smooth the way for new pipelines that would help producers access new markets and get a better price for their oil.

Laut said that approach may help, but it's no silver bullet.

In addition to carbon, First Nations and landowner concerns, as well as worries over marine safety, must be addressed, he said.

"It's a complex issue," he said. "It probably will help, but I don't know if it will solve all ills."

With files from The Canadian Press


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