Thank­ing Gerry Ritz for his ser­vice

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - OPINION -

Last week, a proud son of Saskatchewan and hard-work­ing pub­lic ser­vant an­nounced his re­tire­ment from pub­lic life. Saskatchewan will miss the Hon. Gerry Ritz. He is a good friend and I very much en­joyed work­ing with him on be­half of Saskatchewa­ni­ans and all Cana­di­ans.

Gerry made the lives of Cana­dian farm­ers bet­ter and brought about the struc­tural change needed to make agri­cul­ture a prof­itable and lu­cra­tive ca­reer for Cana­di­ans young and old. The mar­ket­ing free­dom that he se­cured for wheat and bar­ley, in ad­di­tion to the many trade agree­ments that he helped ne­go­ti­ate, en­abled young en­trepreneurs to em­brace agri­cul­ture again.

I re­mem­ber sit­ting with Gerry in the Sen­ate Gallery, watch­ing the pas­sage of the Mar­ket­ing Free­dom for Grain Farm­ers Act, know­ing that Saskatchewan grain farm­ers were about to ex­pe­ri­ence the same free­dom as farm­ers in other parts of the coun­try. No longer would grain farm­ers go to jail for do­nat­ing their grain to 4H groups in North Dakota, nor would they lose own­er­ship of their wheat and bar­ley crop as soon as it was har­vested. Fol­low­ing the vote, Gerry and I shook hands to cel­e­brate our vic­tory. It was one of the great­est moments of my po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

Be­cause of Gerry’s lead­er­ship as Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, the mar­ket­ing of west­ern grain en­tered the 21st cen­tury. Thanks to his lead­er­ship, the com­bined value of all wheat and canola now ex­ceeds $11.6 bil­lion. To quote Grain Grow­ers of Canada Pres­i­dent Jeff Nielsen, farm­ers can now man­age their farms bet­ter with the same con­trol over their wheat mar­ket­ing as with all their other crops, and they can take ad­van­tage of op­por­tu­ni­ties de­nied to them in­side the bu­reau­cratic and pol­i­cy­dom­i­nated con­fines of the mo­nop­oly.

It was an hon­our to serve Cana­di­ans along­side Gerry. His pub­lic ser­vice has truly made Canada a bet­ter place to raise a fam­ily and earn a liv­ing. I wish him all the best in his re­tire­ment and thank him for every­thing that he has done for farm­ers both here in our home prov­ince and across Canada.

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