Politicians of all stripes joined hundreds of mourners who gathered on Saturday to pay tribute to Jim Carr, the Liberal member of Parliament who died five days earlier at the age of 71 following a battle with cancer.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among the cross-section of dignitaries at the memorial service, which also included former NDP and Progressive Conservative premiers of Manitoba, MPs from the government and opposition side of the House of Commons and prominent Indigenous leaders.

"He ... inspired me to continue doing difficult things in difficult moments," Trudeau told the service.

"And then this week, I discovered it wasn't just me, it was everyone ... it was a gift he had."

Trudeau gave Carr's family the flag that was flying on Parliament Hill the day of his death.

Carr was first elected to the Manitoba legislature in 1988 and served for four years. He later became president of the Business Council of Manitoba, then ran for federal office in 2015.

With a reputation as a bridge-builder, Carr was named minister for natural resources and, later, international trade diversification.

Former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon, a Progressive Conservative, spoke as he entered the memorial service of Carr's willingness to work across party lines, even during a time of constitutional debate.

"Even at the time of Meech Lake, he was a person who was always looking for a positive solution and he always had a wonderful view of life and what was good for Canada," Filmon said.

Dignitaries, family and friends gather for #funeral of Manitoba politician #JimCarr. #CDNPoli

Former NDP premier Gary Doer, who succeeded Filmon, remembered meeting Carr during their university days when Doer worked at a jail.

"He worked for the National Film Board when I was working with Vaughan Street detention centre and he brought films over," Doer said.

Kevin Lamoureux, a Liberal caucus colleague of Carr's at both the provincial and national levels, said Carr was a politician who was respected by all parties — an attribute that showed recently after the Commons passed a private member's bill that Carr had put forward.

"Right after he spoke, members from the Bloc (Québécois) came over to shake his hand," Lamoureux said.

"The Bloc voted against his bill, but they respected his argument."

In 2019, the day after being re-elected as an MP, Carr was diagnosed with the blood cancer multiple myeloma. He survived kidney failure and later underwent a stem-cell transplant.

Carr's son Ben delivered the eulogy Saturday and said Carr's willingness to listen was so extensive, it once led to a two-hour discussion with Jehovah's Witnesses that had come to the family's front door.

Ben Carr also read from a speech that his father was set to deliver in the Commons on Wednesday — a farewell he did not get to give.

"Never stop learning. Keep an open mind. Speak only when you have taken the time to consider your words carefully," Ben Carr quoted from his father's prepared remarks.

"Seek to build bridges and consensus. Add a chair around the dinner table. Most importantly ... be kind to each other."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2022.

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