Allan ROCK

ROCK, The Hon. Allan, P.C., LL.B.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Etobicoke Centre (Ontario)
Birth Date
August 30, 1947
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Rock
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=b2d6e9ec-97ea-4860-9534-4bc3d646cd24&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister and solicitor, lawyer, legal counsel

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Etobicoke Centre (Ontario)
  • Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (November 4, 1993 - June 10, 1997)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Etobicoke Centre (Ontario)
  • Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (November 4, 1993 - June 10, 1997)
  • Minister of Health (June 11, 1997 - January 14, 2002)
November 27, 2000 - December 12, 2003
LIB
  Etobicoke Centre (Ontario)
  • Minister of Health (June 11, 1997 - January 14, 2002)
  • Minister of Western Economic Diversification (January 15, 2002 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (January 15, 2002 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister of Industry (January 15, 2002 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister responsible for Infrastructure (August 7, 2002 - December 11, 2003)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 515 of 516)


January 27, 1994

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Mr. Speaker, I must say that I am not familiar with the details of the case referred to and I will withhold comment on it specifically until I have an opportunity to investigate it further. If the hon. member wishes to have me comment on that specific case, I will be happy to do so after I have had an opportunity to examine it in detail.

As to her broader question, the issue of whether substance abuse can be taken into account in determining the degree of culpability or the nature of the charge, may I simply say that the Criminal Code at present, and defences that are available to those accused of criminal acts, provide and have provided throughout the history of our justice system that all circumstances be taken into account, including the question of whether the individual accused was acting under the influence of an agent.

This is a question which is more complex than can be dealt with in a short response. I assure the member that once I am familiar with the facts of the case to which she has referred in particular I would be happy to discuss it with her at greater length.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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January 27, 1994

Mr. Rock

Mr. Speaker, the question the hon. member has raised strikes really at the heart of this council. If it is going to be effective, if it is going to achieve the objectives I have described, it cannot be academic or remote. It cannot be slow to report. It cannot simply research and write. It has to be community based. It has to be pragmatic, and it has to be government supporting communities to get action under way.

I am sensitive to the dangers he has identified. We cannot burden the council with a mandate that will result in it going on forever and achieving nothing.

Let me tell my hon. friend that my department will be mailing out during the next week or so to dozens of individuals and organizations throughout the country a discussion paper raising many of the questions he has touched upon. My hon. friend talked about the structure and composition of the council and the mandate of the council itself.

We will be seeking the views of police forces, community groups, other levels of government and individuals with the kind of practical experience to which my hon. friend referred in coming to grips with the design and creation of this council. We will also be grateful for his suggestions. I will be sending the discussion paper to my colleagues in the House as well. We will look forward to having the benefit of his views as we put it together.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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January 27, 1994

Mr. Rock

Mr. Speaker, in response to the question put by the hon. member for Calgary Northeast, with reference to the recommendation last year it was the Horner committee, an all-party committee of the House, that conducted extensive research and had lengthy hearings on the whole question of crime prevention. That committee unanimously recommended, among other things, that a national strategy including a national council be created for this purpose. We are really acting upon and giving life to recommendations that emanate from an all-party committee, as well as from other sources as I mentioned in my remarks.

In terms of sentencing obviously it must be the very purpose of the criminal justice system to ensure the sentence fits the crime. That is often, however, in the eye of the beholder. There can be controversy about whether a given sentence on a particular day in answer to a specific crime is the right one.

If I may be permitted to say so at this time, I recently reread a study done by Anthony Dube, a noted criminologist, who undertook as a research project to examine public reactions to sentences meted out to specific crimes first from the newspaper story and then after acquainting members of the public with all the facts of the case that went before the judge who passed sentence.

In his research Mr. Dube made the observation that when the citizens read of the sentence in the newspaper a given percentage thought it seemed like a very light sentence for such a crime. However when the same persons were given all the facts before the judge who actually passed the sentence, the percentage of those who agreed that the sentence was appropriate increased dramatically until it became almost unanimous.

The lesson we learned is that it is often misleading and sometimes dangerous to assess the appropriateness of a sentence from a brief newspaper report or a television report. Surely the justice system we want is one in which competent judges, on the basis of all the facts in the adversarial system, assess the appropriate sentence in keeping with appropriate principles in the courtroom where the case has been tried.

I do not wish to sidestep the question put by the hon. member for Calgary Northeast. Let me deal with it squarely by saying that I have already indicated we propose to introduce legislation on the subject of sentencing. I will be happy to have his reaction to it. In the process of committee hearings on that bill I am certain he will have an opportunity to develop his point further.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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January 26, 1994

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-4, an act to amend the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Crown Liability And Proceedings Act
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January 25, 1994

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Mr. Speaker, may I first express the sense of horror and sadness that all members of this Chamber must feel at the tragic death of Sarah Dutil. Our hearts go out to members of her family.

There are two aspects I would offer to the hon. member in response to the important question she has raised. First, my understanding of the traditional practice is that whenever a trial court judge is to be elevated to the appellate level, inquiries are made by the minister of the chief justice of the relevant court to be sure that the appointment will not interfere with the completion of any proceeding or trial that is under way. That is certainly the practice I intend to follow as long as I have any involvement with the appointment process. As to what happened in June of last year with respect to the appointment in question, I have no personal knowledge.

There is a second aspect as well. The Department of Justice will soon be introducing an omnibus amendment to the Criminal Code and among other things it will propose a change to section 669.2 of the code, the effect of which will be to ensure that a criminal jury trial can proceed notwithstanding the disqualification of the presiding trial judge for any reason and the substitution of another judge so that such a circumstance may never happen again.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Administration Of Justice
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