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Allan_Rock

Allan Rock

This article is about the Canadian statesman. For the similarly-named places in Massachusetts, see Allen Rock.

Allan Michael Rock PC (born August 30, 1947) is a lawyer, former Canadian politician, diplomat and now the President of University of Ottawa. He was Canada's ambassador to the United Nations (2004-2006) and had previously served in the Cabinet of Jean Chrétien, most notably as Justice Minister (1993-1997) and Health Minister (1997-2002).

Rock was appointed the president and vice-chancellor of the University of Ottawa by the Board of Governors of the university on June 3, 2008. His term as the president of University of Ottawa starts on July 15, 2008.

Early life

Allan Rock was born and raised in Ottawa. His secondary school studies were completed in Ottawa. He studied for a B.A. and an LL.B. at the University of Ottawa and began his career as a trial lawyer.

As a student leader in 1970 he met John Lennon and drove him around Ottawa while he was hosting him for a "peace conference" he was holding. He had invited Lennon to Ottawa after his famous "bed-in" in Montreal. He tried to introduce Lennon to Pierre Trudeau, but the prime minister was not at home when they dropped by.

Ministerial career

In 2002, Rock became the Minister of Industry for Canada following five years in the post of Minister of Health. Prior to this he was the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

In his role as Minister of Justice, Rock was heavily involved in bringing about the Canadian gun registry. This program was plagued by massive cost overruns, and is rumoured to be one of the reasons for the failure of Rock's abortive leadership bid. However, Rock's tenure as a federal cabinet minister was in general characterized by controversy ranging from the handling of compensation for victims of tainted blood donations to actions of his department in the Airbus affair (which ended in a public apology and $2.1 million settlement to Brian Mulroney).

Rock initially declared he would run in the Liberal Party of Canada leadership race to replace the retiring Jean Chrétien, raising more money and polling higher numbers than John Manley and Sheila Copps. However, former Finance Minister Paul Martin had a stranglehold on the party machinery and all of the other leadership candidates were unable to affect his commanding lead. In 2003, Rock dropped out of the leadership and announced his support for Martin, though one of Martin's staff said that that move would not be sufficient to guarantee Rock continuing in cabinet.

Ambassador to United Nations

On December 12, 2003, Queen Elizabeth II, on the advice of Paul Martin, appointed Rock as Canada's ambassador to the United Nations. Rock resigned his seat in the House of Commons and took office in early 2004. As Canada's ambassador to the UN, Rock spoke to the UN General Assembly on April 13, 2004, encouraging participation of the member nations of the United Nations on the matter of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

Certain Catholic groups have called for Rock's excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church due to his support for abortion rights. Rock was also a strong supporter of gay rights, and specifically gay marriage, long before it became Liberal Party policy.

With the election of the Conservative Party of Canada, it has been speculated that Rock would be replaced in his role as Ambassador. He had also been mentioned as a potential candidate to replace the departing Prime Minister Paul Martin as the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada but on February 3, 2006, Rock announced that he would not run for leadership of the Liberal Party. He later endorsed Stéphane Dion's successful bid to lead the party.

Rock tendered his resignation in February and on February 16, 2006, the newly elected Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the appointment of Rock's replacement, John McNee Rock remained in office until June 30, 2006 at Harper's request. Upon his departure, he called for an overhaul of the UN. Rock submitted a report about child soldiers in Sri Lanka on 15 January 2007 to the UN.

Leaves public life

Rock announced earlier in June, 2006, that he would be moving to Windsor, Ontario to resume his legal career with Harvey Thomas Strosberg at Sutts, Strosberg LLP.

Rock appeared as a witness before the Canadian House of Commons Ethics Committee on February 5, 2008. The Committee is examining the Mulroney Airbus settlement of $2.1 million, which Rock, as Justice Minister in 1997, negotiated to close the file of Brian Mulroney's libel lawsuit against the federal government. But Karlheinz Schreiber's very large cash payments to Brian Mulroney from 1993 and 1994 were unknown at that time, since Mulroney denied under oath during his lawsuit that he had had any significant dealings with Schreiber after leaving office as PM. Rock stated for the Committee that had he known about those payments during the trial, he would likely not have settled the case for $2.1 million. These matters will also be examined in a public inquiry called by Prime Minister Harper, which will begin once the Ethics Committee has finished its work.

University of Ottawa President

It was announced in May 2008 that Rock would be appointed the next president of the University of Ottawa. Rock was a student at the university and graduated in 1970 with a law degree. At his time at uOttawa, Rock was a former President of the SFUO (uOttawa's Student Federation).

See also

References

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