Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food provide an update on the government's response to the canola trade dispute with China during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada’s international trade minister diagnosed with cancer

Canada’s International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr says he’s undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this week.

In a statement released on Twitter on Friday, Carr, a Liberal Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre, said his “spirits are high” and he plans to continue to serve his constituents.

Carr said he had been experiencing flu symptoms in recent weeks and his doctor asked him to do blood tests.

On Monday, just as Canadians were voting in the federal election, his doctor told him to go to the hospital.

“On Tuesday, I underwent further tests which led to a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer,” he wrote.

“This has also affected my kidney function. I have begun chemotherapy and dialysis treatment, which will continue for the near future.”

Carr said his constituency office will remain open.

“I am feeling well, my spirits are high. I spoke to the prime minister and reiterated my commitment to continue serving my constituents and all Canadians,” said Carr in his statement.

Carr has been a high-profile member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet and has held two crucial portfolios in the Liberal government: minister of natural resources and his current portfolio of minister of international trade diversification.

The 68-year-old politician began his career as a musician, as an oboist and trustee with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. According to Carr’s official biography, he then moved on to journalism, working as an editorial writer and columnist with the Winnipeg Free Press as well as for CBC Radio.

Carr entered public life in 1988, when he was elected to represent Fort Rouge in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. He was also the deputy leader of his party. He later went on to become the founding CEO of the Business Council of Manitoba.

Carr’s illness comes at a very sensitive time for the Liberals who were reduced to a minority government following the Oct. 21 vote.

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