Former agriculture minister Gerry Ritz is leaving federal politics.
Ritz, 66, plans to announce he will step down as MP for Battlefords-Lloydminster on Thursday morning.
First elected to parliament in 1997, Ritz served as minister of agriculture from 2007 to 2015. Following the Liberal victory in the 2015 election he served as critic for the trade portfolio in the Conservatives’ shadow cabinet. His name was notably absent from the new shadow cabinet unveiled by leader Andrew Scheer on Wednesday.
“It’s an ideal time as Andrew puts together a new team with young blood, new people with new ideas and maybe a little more fire in their bellies. It’s just an ideal time to step out and let someone else take their turn,” he says.
Ritz says has no big plans other than spending time with his family.
“This is a huge leap of faith that there’s something out there to form a next chapter. It’s time to reconnect with my family as I’ve missed more days than I’ve been able to attend over the last two dozen years,” he says.
“I have a bunch of projects waiting for me to run through the shop. My wife and I are going to take a trip this weekend to my grandson’s 10th birthday. They’re all growing up way too fast.”
Ritz will always be associated with ending the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk in Western Canada in 2012.
“Everyone expects me to point to the changes to marketing freedom, but there were so many things we did,” he says, when asked about his proudest accomplishments, referring to market access, transportation issues, and farmgate returns.
Ritz joined Kelvin Heppner to discuss his decision to move on, reflect on his time in Ottawa, and what his future plans are: