Tory MP Gerry Ritz to resign: sources

OTTAWA — Gerry Ritz, one of the longest serving Conservative members of Parliament, is leaving federal political life.

Sources tell The Canadian Press the former agriculture minister and MP for a Saskatchewan riding is expected to make the announcement this week.

Ritz was first elected in 1997 as a member of the Reform Party, and went on to win his seat in every subsequent federal election.

Between 2007 and 2015, he served as agriculture minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper, overseeing among other things the marquee Conservative promise to overhaul the Canadian Wheat Board.

In 2008, in the midst of an outbreak of listeriosis that killed about 20 people, he drew widespread condemnation for cracking a joke that the political damage from the issue was “like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts.”

He later apologized for the remark, which Harper’s office had called tasteless and completely inappropriate.

Ritz had informed Scheer of his planned retirement earlier this summer as the Conservative leader was in the midst of putting together his shadow cabinet.

Under interim party leader Rona Ambrose, Ritz had served as critic for international trade. That position will now be held by Ontario MP Dean Allison.

Ritz, 66, had spent two decades working as a farmer before entering political life. He won office in the same election that saw Deepak Obhrai secure a seat for the Reform Party in Calgary — Obhrai was sworn in before Ritz, because of the alphabetical list, so is technically considered the longest serving Tory MP.

But the duo represent the last of the old Reform guard in the House.

Just after the Tories were reduced to Opposition status last election, Ritz told the Manitoba Cooperator his wife had hoped he wouldn’t run again in the 2015 race, but he felt had unfinished business.

“I’m not ashamed of anything I have done or how I’ve done it,” he said. “I certainly will look anybody in the eye and say ‘the greater good prevailed’ and that’s what democracy is all about — having your say but not having your way (necessarily) with the election we just went through.”

Just Posted

Joshua Frank takes stand in murder trial

Joshua Frank testifies he had no idea Klaus family would be murdered

Doctor first in Red Deer to offer Mohs surgical suite for skin cancer

A local doctor says a skin cancer surgery newly offered locally will… Continue reading

Lacombe family in TV cooking contest needs Central Albertan votes

The Gustafsons are in the running to win a trip to Italy

Methamphetamine, THC found in half-million dollar seizure and Bowden Institution

Nearly half a million dollars worth of drugs and other contraband was… Continue reading

Community support needed to bring Canadian Finals Rodeo to Red Deer

Bid from Westerner Park and Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce

WATCH: National women’s hockey team in Red Deer

Before heading to next year’s Olympics in South Korea, the women’s national… Continue reading

New columnist joining Advocate team

Market Gypsy starts on November 30

Volunteer with victim services in Red Deer

Learn more at info session on Nov. 27

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Women were reported missing earlier this week

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month