Since the day that the federal election was announced, I have wondered what the future will hold for Gerry Ritz. Now don’t get me wrong Mr. Ritz is going to easily win his riding as there are reports he hasn’t even had to open up a campaign office for his riding. With his seat secure, how could this be his largest political regret? Let’s investigate.
Minister Ritz has been one of the most impactful federal agriculture ministers that most RealAg readers can remember. Here are some of his highlights or lowlights, depending how far left you reside on the political spectrum:
- Removal of the single desk marketing of wheat through the Canadian Wheat Board in Western Canada
- Passing Bill C-18 which allows Canada to adopt UPOV 91 to better protect the investment of plant breeders.
- His extensive work with the Prime Minister to increase free trade access into different regions of the world.
So having said all this, why would continuing to hold political office after this election be a regret with such achievements under his belt?
What happens if there is not a Harper Conservative majority? After coming through on all of your major promises in the last election and making such an impact on the Canadian agriculture industry domestically and internationally, how could you possibly go back to being the agriculture critic? After taunting of the opposition in the “who is steamrolling who?” saga, how could he be comfortable on the other side of the aisle? Nobody would have held it against him if he had decided he was done.
Other members of Prime Minister Harper’s inner circle have moved on. John Baird, Peter Mackay, James Moore and Ted Menzies, among others, have found different challenges and decided to leave politics. As many of you know, Ted Menzies is now the Executive Director of Crop Life Canada.
So why not Gerry Ritz? At 64 years of age, with 18 years as an MP under his belt, what does he have left to do as agriculture minister? What does he have left to accomplish? Why not go out on top? Proving to us he can win his seat again just doesn’t seem like enough.