Gerry Ritz

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The Honourable
Gerry Ritz
Gerry Ritz 2013-04-09.jpg
Shadow Minister for International Trade
Assumed office
20 November 2015
Leader Rona Ambrose
Preceded by Don Davies
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Battlefords—Lloydminster
Assumed office
June 2, 1997
Preceded by new riding
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
In office
August 14, 2007 – November 4, 2015
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Chuck Strahl
Succeeded by Laurence MacAulay
Chair of the Standing Committee on
In office
4 May 2006 – 1 February 2007
Minister Chuck Strahl
Preceded by Paul Steckle
Succeeded by James Bezan
Personal details
Born (1951-08-19) August 19, 1951 (age 64)
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

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

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]

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.[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]


  1. ^ "About Gerry Ritz - Member of Parliament for the Battlefords and Lloydminster". Gerry Ritz. 2008. Retrieved 2015-05-31. 
  2. ^ "MacKay takes over defence in cabinet shuffle". CTV News. August 14, 2007. Retrieved 2015-05-31. 
  3. ^ "Ritz sorry for 'tasteless' Listeria jokes". CTV News. September 17, 2008. Retrieved 2015-05-31. 
  4. ^ "XL foods to destroy all meat from E.coli recall". CBC News. October 20, 2012. Retrieved 2015-05-31. 
  5. ^ "XL Foods didn't follow some safety procedures, agency says". CBC News. October 3, 2012. Retrieved 2015-05-31. 

External links[edit]

28th Ministry – Cabinet of Stephen Harper
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Chuck Strahl Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
August 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