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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