Ritz tops list of most lobbied cabinet ministers

As lobbyists beat a path through Ottawa’s political maze last year, they more often than not ended up at Gerry Ritz’s door.

The agriculture minister was the most lobbied minister by a country mile in 2012, according to records from the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada.

The Parliament Hill newspaper The Hill Times researched the numbers.

Under federal legislation, anyone lobbying federal ministers or officials to influence policy development or outcome must register as lobbyists and then report any contact.

According to the registry of lobbyist actions, Ritz held 111 meetings last year on topics ranging from trade, supply management and food inspection legislation reforms to potash industry control and pork industry problems.

The next closest minister in hosting lobbyist visitors was natural resources minister Joe Oliver with 83 meetings followed by environment minister Peter Kent with 77.

For Ritz, who also is the political minister for Saskatchewan, his lobby year began Jan. 10, 2012, with a visit from Bob Friesen of Farmers of North America.

It ended Dec. 13 with a visit from the Food and Consumer Products of Canada food processor and manufacturing group.

Lobbyists from grain and commodity associations met him to press for rail service legislation, which was introduced by transport minister Denis Lebel late last year, and the co-operative sector.

Ritz also topped the list for the most popular minister among lobbyists in 2011.

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