Born on a farm near Rosetown, Saskatchewan, and driven by a lifelong passion for agriculture, Gerry Ritz believes in putting
Farmers First. It means that by ensuring a strong and profitable farm gate the entire value chain is better positioned to capitalize on market opportunities, drive the economy and feed the world.
Over his eight years as Agriculture Minister he has led over 30 trade missions to open and expand international markets for Canadian farmers and food processors, helping Canadian agricultural and food exports hit all-time highs. Gerry has been recognized with a number of industry awards for his work in restoring and expanding Canadian beef and pork to key markets around the world. He also works closely with industry, academia and other levels of government here at home to invest in science and innovation. These investments help create new economic opportunities for Canada's farmers and agriculture businesses.
Under his leadership, several key agricultural legislative reforms have been passed, including the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act in 2012, which removed the mandatory requirement to market wheat and barley through the Canadian Wheat Board, allowing western Canadian wheat and barley farmers to market their grain as they choose. Gerr was also the driving forcebehind laws strengthening Canada's food safety system through the Safe Food for Canadians Act, and modernizing Canada's grain industry through reforms to the Canadian Grain Commission.
To allow Canada's agriculture and food industry to capture new opportunities in the growing global marketplace, in 2013 Gerry and his provincial and territorial colleagues launched Growing Forward 2, a $3-billion, five-year framework driving proactive initiatives around market development, innovation and competitiveness.
Gerry had the pleasure to serve farmers, food processors and all Canadians as Minister of Agriculture from 2007-2015, and curently as Member of Parliament for Battlefords-Lloydminster since 1997. He also served as Secretary of State for Small Business and Tourism and is now the International Trade Critic for the Official Opposition.
In addition to farming, Gerry has owned and operated a general contracting business, and co-owned a weekly newspaper. He also has a long history of community involvement including work with economic development organizations and coaching hockey. He and his wife Judy live at Brightsand Lake in Western Saskatchewan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
The House of Commons is in session Mondays to Fridays from mid-September to mid-June.
Except for Fridays and for times of late night or emergency debates, the House adjourns daily at 7 p.m. MPs fly to and from their riding on many weekends to attend to constituency business and spend time with their families.
When the House is sitting, Members of Parliament participate in debates on legislation before the House, daily Question Period, Standing House Committee Hearings and any number of special Caucuses and Parliamentary Associations.
Aside from time in the Chamber and at committee meetings, a typical day in the life of an MP is filled with meetings, activities and other duties that often start before breakfast and end well into the evening. There may be media interviews, a meeting with a visiting constituent to discuss a federal program, special events and ceremonies to attend, letters, phone calls and emails to answer.
A more fulsome description can be found on the Parliament of Canada's website.