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.
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.