Gerry Ritz believes the Trudeau government should be doing more when it comes to clearing up the canola situation with China.
The Former Conservative Agriculture Minister recently received an honorary life membership with the Canola Council of Canada.
Ritz says it was a real honor and a humbling experience and encouraged the group to never stop lobbying, the job is never done.
He notes the situation with China and canola export permits from Richardson International is pure politics and at issue is the Huawei debacle.
“It needs to be the Prime Minister himself making the call to the leadership over there. It means the Ministers of Trade, Foreign Affairs, and Agriculture are on planes and landing in China, in Beijing putting on a full court press. Working with big buyers like COFCO and others that can put pressure back through their own government. They’re all politically connected and it just means getting that work done on the ground.”
Ritz compares the current situation to how his government handled the issue with China over Blackleg.
“You know we had a SWAT team headed by a guy named Freddy Gorrell. Fred was on a plane that very same day into China lining up meetings for me to be there some three days later so that we hit the ground running. During that time frame, we put Agriculture Canada staff in the embassies and consulates around the world so that they knew the files, not someone from global affairs or foreign affairs as they call it now. We also put together a scientific working group of Agriculture Canada scientists, Canola Council Scientists and Chinese scientists that came to Winnipeg and looked at the science and the work we were doing here. That needs to happen again.”
Ritz says it’s all about choices and keeping the pressure on the government of the day regardless of the political stripe to make sure they don’t forget about Agriculture - the third largest driver of the Canadian Economy.