James Carr is Canada’s new Minister of Natural Resources

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a new era in Canada federal politics Wednesday as his majority Liberal government took office and a cabinet of political veterans and rookie MPs was sworn in.

One of them was Winnipeg businessman and Liberal South Centre MP, James Car (64), who became the country’s new Minister of Natural Resources.

He’ll have to deal with touchy issues left by the previous administration as a legacy, including the government’s stance on a 15% Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC), which has helped Canadian miners raise billions for exploration.

Carr will also face challenges in the country’s vast Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, until recently target of offshore drilling projects now mothballed due to low oil prices.

And then, there is TransCanada Corp’s (TSX, NYSE:TRP) Keystone XL pipeline, which pending review by the US Administration came to define Stephen Harper’s relationship with President Obama. This week, however, TransCanada asked the U.S. government to suspend its permit application, which would leave the project in limbo likely beyond the 2016 U.S. elections.

Carr first ran for the Manitoba legislature in the provincial election of 1986, losing to Conservative leader Gary Filmon in the upscale west Winnipeg riding of Tuxedo. He ran again in the provincial election of 1988 during a period of increased support for the provincial Liberals, and scored a surprisingly strong victory in the riding of Fort Rouge, defeating NDP cabinet minister Roland Penner by over 2,000 votes.

Before becoming a public figure, Carr worked as a journalist, musician and administrator, serving as both an oboist and trustee with the Winnipeg on different occasions. Before entering public life, he was also executive director of the Manitoba Arts Council.

Trudeau’s Cabinet will hold its first meeting Wednesday afternoon.

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