Gerry Ritz

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The Honourable
Gerry Ritz
Gerry Ritz 2013-04-09.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Battlefords—Lloydminster
Assumed office
Preceded by new riding
Personal details
Born (1951-08-19) August 19, 1951 (age 63)
Delisle, Saskatchewan
Political party Conservative
Other political
Reform (1997–2000)
Canadian Alliance (2000–2003)
Spouse(s) Judy Fleury[1]
Residence North Battleford, Saskatchewan
Profession Construction contractor, politician
Portfolio Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Gerry Ritz, PC, MP (born August 19, 1951) is Canada's Agriculture minister and a Canadian Member of Parliament for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

Life and pre-political career[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

On August 14, 2007, Ritz was promoted to the Cabinet as Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food replacing Chuck Strahl.[2]

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 [3] 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.[4] 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.[5]


External links[edit]

28th Ministry – Cabinet of Stephen Harper
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Chuck Strahl Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
from 14-Aug-2007
Sub-Cabinet Post
Predecessor Title Successor
New position Secretary of State (Small Business & Tourism)
(from 4-Jan-2007)
Diane Ablonczy