A familiar face in Northwest politics made a political comeback in the municipal elections on Monday.
Indeed, former Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Gerry Ritz has been elected reeve of the rural municipality of Mervin.
Ritz served 20 years as a Member of Parliament from 1997-2017 and is best known for his time in the Stephen Harper government as minister of agriculture.
Ritz was used to racking up massive victories in his runs for Parliament, but his race for reeve turned out to be one of his tougher campaigns. According to official results posted on the Sask. Association of Rural Municipalities website, Ritz defeated Evelyn Bloom by the close margin of 517 votes to 480.
Ritz and his wife Judy own property in Brightsand Lake, where they reside. He left Parliament to spend more free time with family, but clearly the political bug never left.
Ritz was among four candidates in the RM election who ran under the banner “Engaging the RM of Mervin.” It describes itself as a group of concerned residents seeking change in the RM.
According to their website www.engagingrmmervin.com, Ritz ran on a platform where he “intends to advocate for council transparency, create a culture where everyone is valued, and foster strong regional relationships with neighboring RMs.”
While it was a good result for Ritz, it was not so great for one of his former federal election opponents in one of the council races. Former Liberal candidate Larry Ingram was defeated in division 5, losing to David Krywchuk 181 to 64. Besides Ritz, Krywchuk was the only other “Engaging the RM of Mervin” candidate elected.
There is one more political name of note connected to the RM of Mervin: until recently the chief administrator there had been Ryan Domotor, who was just elected in October to the legislature representing Cut Knife-Turtleford for the Saskatchewan Party.