Tory MP Gerry Ritz to re­sign: sources

Winnipeg Free Press - - NEWS -

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.

Ritz 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 served as critic for in­ter­na­tional trade. That po­si­tion will now be held by On­tario MP Dean Al­li­son.

Ritz, 66, 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 two rep­re­sent the last of the old Re­form guard in the House of Com­mons.

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