Letter: Should Ritz be named to the Agriculture Hall of Fame

Dear editor,

Around November 9, 2018 many Western newspapers contained a letter by Ian Robson of Manitoba, which pointed out the fallacy of former Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz being inducted to the Agriculture Hall of Fame.

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The next issue contained a letter by Kevin Bender (Chairman of Alberta Wheat Commission) strongly disagreeing with Robson’s analysis of why Ritz is a very poor selection.

Sorry Kevin, I agree with Robson’s analysis. Ritz was the head honcho in the attack to get rid of the farmer owned Canadian Wheat Board, and in reality plundered and sold cheaply CWB assets owned by farmers. Those assets included hopper cars, office buildings, grain ships, plus cash. These assets were given to a foreign entity. Ritz also killed the community pasture program, the shelterbelt program, Indian Head Tree Nursery, cut Agri-stability programs, Port of Churchill along with the rail line was given to foreign owned Omnitrax. He gutted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, cut $3 billion from Agriculture Canada. Spending cuts in Agriculture sector under Ritz in 2012-13 were nearly $15 million. He not only threw farmers to the corporate wolves, but also endorsed the trade deals to weaken Canada’s supply management.

To add insult to injury, during the 2008 lesteriosis crisis which had already killed 17 people, Ritz’s comment was, “This is like death by a thousand cuts - or should I say cold cuts”. When informed that another death had occurred in PEI, Ritz’s comment was “please tell me it’s Wayne Easter” who was the Ag critic at the time.

Does Kevin Bender, or for that matter Toronto’s Royal Agriculture Winter Fair, really think Ritz should be named to the Agriculture Hall of Fame. I do not.

Joyce Neufeld, Waldeck, SK

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