Jan. 15, 2013, Ottawa, ON - This is a statement released by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on the passing of former Federal Agriculture Minister John Wise:
On behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, I extend my sincere condolences on the passing of the Honourable John Wise, PC.
A dairy farmer from Ontario's Elgin County, John brought his passion for agriculture to public life, serving in municipal politics, farm organizations and as member of Parliament for Elgin for 16 years. As Canada's agriculture minister, John was highly respected in the farm community and by Canadians for his integrity and dedication to the job of serving and growing Canadian agriculture.
John was a capable and realistic minister with a knowledge of agriculture from the ground up. Under his watch, he helped guide several critical pieces of legislation. He was also instrumental in the development of the Canada-U.S. Trade Agreement from an agricultural perspective. This included delivering transition assistance for grape growers, which laid the foundation for today's world-class Canadian wine industry. He was also successful in developing stronger federal-provincial-territorial relations to move the industry forward. While dealing with some difficult issues through his career, John was always open to debate-and, as one colleague recalls, he was "a gentleman throughout."
I am honoured to continue John's efforts in putting farmers first, because a strong farm gate is the backbone of our economy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wise family.