Gerry Ritz
Gerry Ritz 2013-04-09.jpg
Official Opposition Critic for International Trade
In office
November 20, 2015 – August 29, 2017
LeaderRona Ambrose
Andrew Scheer
Preceded byDon Davies
Succeeded byDean Allison
Member of Parliament
for Battlefords—Lloydminster
In office
June 2, 1997 – October 2, 2017
Preceded byLen Taylor[1]
Succeeded byRosemarie Falk
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
In office
August 14, 2007 – November 4, 2015
Prime MinisterStephen Harper
Preceded byChuck Strahl
Succeeded byLawrence MacAulay
Chair of the Standing Committee on
Agriculture
In office
May 4, 2006 – February 1, 2007
MinisterChuck Strahl
Preceded byPaul Steckle
Succeeded byJames Bezan
Personal details
Born (1951-08-19) August 19, 1951 (age 70)
Delisle, Saskatchewan, Canada
Political partyConservative
Other political
affiliations
Reform (1997–2000)
Canadian Alliance (2000–2003)
Spouse(s)Judy Fleury[2]
Residence(s)North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada
ProfessionConstruction contractor, politician

Gerry Ritz PC (born August 19, 1951) is a former Canadian politician. He served as member of the House of Commons of Canada for Battlefords—Lloydminster from 1997 until his resignation in 2017. He served as Canada's Agriculture minister from 2007 through 2015 under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Life and pre-political career

Ritz was born in Delisle, Saskatchewan and prior to his political career, he worked as a farmer at the family farm for over 20 years and owned a contracting business company.

Federal politics

Ritz was elected as the Reform Party candidate in the 1997 general election, and then re-elected with the Canadian Alliance in the 2000 election and the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2004 election. Ritz has been the vice-chair of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee since 2002. He was appointed Secretary of State for small business and tourism in the Harper government on January 4, 2007.

Minister of Agriculture

Canadian Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz, Mexico Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food Martinez y Martinez, and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
Canadian Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz, Mexico Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food Martinez y Martinez, and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

On August 14, 2007, Ritz was promoted to the Cabinet as Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food replacing Chuck Strahl.[3]

Ritz made national news when, in response to the 2008 Canadian listeriosis outbreak he was quoted as saying, "This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts." Then when told of a death in Prince Edward Island, Ritz said, "Please tell me it's (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter." Ritz later apologized for his comments [4] and Prime Minister Stephen Harper kept Ritz in Cabinet after the 2008 Canadian general election.

In September 2012, E. coli bacteria was found in meat from the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta. This led to over 1800 products being recalled across Canada and the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 1.1 million kilograms of meat from XL Foods were recalled from American stores.[5] This was also the largest beef recall in Canadian history, with meat being recalled in every province and territory in Canada and 41 American states.[6]

Opposition MP and resignation from politics

Ritz announced on August 31, 2017 that he intended to resign from the House of Commons in the near future and leave politics to spend more time with family.[7]

On September 19, 2017, Ritz caused controversy when he tweeted a link to a news story stating no industrialized nations were on pace to meet Paris Agreement carbon emission targets with the comment "Has anyone told our climate Barbie! [sic]" (referring to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna).[8] Ritz deleted the original post within 20 minutes, afterward posted another message stating: "I apologize for the use of Barbie, it is not reflective of the role the Minister plays".[9] Conservative leader Andrew Scheer condemned Ritz's comment later in the day and stated he would reach out to McKenna personally to "assure the minister that this type of behavior has no place in the Conservative caucus".[10] The next day Ritz's office issued a statement confirming his resignation from the House of Commons effective October 2, 2017.[11]

Ritz's successor, Rosemarie Falk, was elected in a by-election on December 11, 2017.[12]

Electoral Record

2015 Canadian federal election: Battlefords—Lloydminster
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Gerry Ritz 20,547 61.01 -4.94 $70,973.30
New Democratic Glenn Tait 5,930 17.61 -10.45 $6,284.73
Liberal Larry Ingram 5,550 16.48 +13.10 $17,912.01
Independent Doug Anguish 1,076 3.19 n/a
Green Mikaela Tenkink 575 1.71 -0.90 $56.97
Total valid votes/expense limit 33,678 99.45   $214,778.83
Total rejected ballots 186 0.55
Turnout 33,864 66.51
Eligible voters 50,917
Conservative hold Swing +2.76
Source: Elections Canada[13][14]
2011 Canadian federal election: Battlefords—Lloydminster
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative (x) Gerry Ritz 19,203 66.9 +6.8 $57,125
New Democratic Glenn Tait 7,767 27.1 +1.8 $57,552
Liberal Jordan LaPlante 950 3.3 -4.9 $4,043
Green Norbert Kratchmer 785 2.7 -2.3 $345
Total valid votes/expense limit 28,705 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 109 0.4 0.0
Turnout 28,814 58.2 +7
Eligible voters 49,530
2008 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures[15]
Conservative (x) Gerry Ritz 15,621 60.1 +6.1 $60,942
New Democratic Bob Woloshyn 6,572 25.3 +9.6 $52,759
Liberal Greg Nyholt 2,140 8.2 -4.6
Green Norbert Kratchmer 1,287 5.0 +2.9 $4,638
Christian Heritage Harold Stephan 368 1.4 +0.4 $6
Total valid votes/Expense limit 25,988 100.0   $87,340
Total rejected ballots 96 0.4 +0.1
Turnout 26,084 51 -9
2006 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative (x) Gerry Ritz 16,491 54.1 -4.2 $54,526
New Democratic Elgin Wyatt 4,829 15.7 -4.6 $20,468
Independent Jim Pankiw 4,396 14.4 $77,133
Liberal Dominic LaPlante 3,901 12.8 -4.6
Green Norbert Kratchmer 637 2.1 -0.8 $145
Christian Heritage Harold Stephan 306 1.0 -0.2 $562
Total valid votes 30,560 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 89 0.3 -0.1
Turnout 30,649 60 +8
2004 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative (x) Gerry Ritz 15,441 58.3 -7.0 $45,813
New Democratic Shawn McKee 5,367 20.2 +2.9 $41,961
Liberal Del Price 4,617 17.4 +0.1 $32,265
Green Kelsey Pearson 766 2.9  
Christian Heritage Diane Stephan 316 1.2  
Total valid votes 26,507 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 94 0.4
Turnout 26,601 52 -8.3
2000 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Alliance (x) Gerry Ritz 17,691 60.2 +17.5 $43,761
New Democratic Elgin Wayne Wyatt 5,107 17.4 -10.4 $22,558
Liberal Peter Frey 5,098 17.4 -2.7 $15,510
Progressive Conservative Harry Zamonsky 1,474 5.0 -4.4 $3,102
Total valid votes 29,370 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 107 0.4
Turnout 29,477 60 -3.3
1997 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Reform Gerry Ritz 13,125 42.7 $37,206
New Democratic (x) Len Taylor 8,535 27.8 $49,152
Liberal Glenn Hornick 6,155 20.0 $43,136
Progressive Conservative Ken Ritter 2,888 9.4 $22,635
Total valid votes 30,703 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 91 0.3
Turnout 30,794 63

References

  1. ^ The Battlefords—Meadow Lake
  2. ^ "About Gerry Ritz - Member of Parliament for the Battlefords and Lloydminster". Gerry Ritz. 2008. Archived from the original on 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  3. ^ "MacKay takes over defence in cabinet shuffle". CTV News. August 14, 2007. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  4. ^ "Ritz sorry for 'tasteless' Listeria jokes". CTV News. September 17, 2008. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  5. ^ "XL foods to destroy all meat from E.coli recall". CBC News. October 20, 2012. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  6. ^ "XL Foods didn't follow some safety procedures, agency says". CBC News. October 3, 2012. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  7. ^ Aiello, Rachel (August 31, 2017). "Long-time Conservative MP Gerry Ritz resigning, not running to lead Saskatchewan Party". CTV News. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  8. ^ "Canada MP sorry for Catherine McKenna 'climate Barbie' remark". BBC News. September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  9. ^ "Gerry Ritz apologizes for calling Catherine McKenna 'climate Barbie'". CBC News. September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  10. ^ Campion-Smith, Bruce (September 20, 2017). "Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer condemns 'Barbie' insult by his own MP". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  11. ^ Dehaas, Josh (September 20, 2017). "McKenna calls out outgoing Conservative MP for sexist 'climate Barbie' tweet". CTV News. Retrieved December 12, 2017. On Wednesday, Ritz's Parliament Hill office confirmed that he sent a letter of resignation to the Speaker of the House of Commons shortly after announcing he would be resigning, indicating his intent to vacate his seat, effective Oct. 2.
  12. ^ Menz, Kevin (December 11, 2017). "Conservatives win again in Battlefords-Lloydminster". CTV News Saskatoon. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  13. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Battlefords—Lloydminster, 30 September 2015
  14. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived 15 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
28th Ministry – Cabinet of Stephen Harper Cabinet post (1) Predecessor Office Successor Chuck Strahl Minister of Agriculture and Agri-FoodAugust 14, 2007 – November 3, 2015 Lawrence MacAulay Sub-Cabinet Post Predecessor Title Successor New position Secretary of State (Small Business & Tourism)(January 4, 2007 – July 13, 2007) Diane Ablonczy