Proud to have nom­i­nated Ritz for Hall of Fame

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Opinion -

Ed­i­tor:

Re: “Gerry Ritz’s record tar­nishes Agri­cul­ture Hall of Fame,” Nov. 9 Prairie Post

I read with great dis­may your guest col­umn sub­mit­ted by Ian Robson where he di­min­ishes the pres­tige of the Agri­cul­ture Hall of Fame for in­duct­ing for­mer min­is­ter Gerry Ritz. He then goes on a lengthy tirade about how ter­ri­ble he thinks Ritz was as our fed­eral agri­cul­ture min­is­ter. His let­ter con­tains sev­eral mis­truths and false con­jec­ture. I will men­tion only a few.

He claims more than 15 per cent of farm­ers went out of busi­ness un­der Ritz’s watch. Would they all be farm­ing to­day if we had a dif­fer­ent min­is­ter?

Likely the vast ma­jor­ity of them are re­tirees which would have hap­pened re­gard­less of who was ag min­is­ter. He says our col­lec­tive debt has risen to over $102 bil­lion. How does this com­pare to other in­dus­tries and is it rel­a­tive? He throws out a num­ber with­out any ref­er­ence or ex­pla­na­tion. Is this debt be­cause of Ritz? Of course not. Robson goes on to sug­gest that the Port of Churchill and the rail line ser­vic­ing it was ren­dered un­eco­nomic and now needs tax­payer funds to re­store it. Churchill was al­ways un­eco­nomic and had to be sub­si­dized to be vi­able.

If any­thing, Ritz did us all a favour by stop­ping the money drain.

It’s very un­for­tu­nate that Robson’s vi­sion is so clouded by his ide­ol­ogy that he fails to see and rec­og­nize the many ac­com­plish­ments Cana­dian agri­cul­ture re­al­ized un­der the lead­er­ship of Ritz. Many have sug­gested that Gerry Ritz is among the best, if not the best, agri­cul­ture min­is­ters Canada has ever had. The Agri­cul­ture Hall of Fame knows this and is why they made this well de­served in­duc­tion.

The Al­berta Wheat Com­mis­sion was proud to part­ner with Al­berta Bar­ley and the Cana­dian Cat­tle­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion in nom­i­nat­ing Ritz for this hon­our.

Kevin Ben­der

Syl­van Lake

(The writer is chair­man of the Al­berta Wheat Com­mis­sion)

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