Allan Rock

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The Honourable
Allan Rock
Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
Preceded by Paul Heinbecker
Succeeded by John McNee
Member of Canadian Parliament for Etobicoke Centre
In office
Preceded by Michael Wilson
Succeeded by Borys Wrzesnewskyj
Minister of Justice
In office
November 4, 1993 – June 10, 1997
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
Preceded by Pierre Blais
Succeeded by Anne McLellan
Minister of Health
In office
June 11, 1997 – January 14, 2002
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
Preceded by David Dingwall
Succeeded by Anne McLellan
52nd Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada
In office
Preceded by James MacDonald Spence
Succeeded by Paul Stephen Andrew Lamek
Personal details
Born Allan Michael Rock
(1947-08-30) August 30, 1947 (age 75)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political party Liberal
Profession Lawyer, politician, government minister, school administrator

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 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 began on July 15, 2008.

Early life

Rock was born to James Thomas Rock and Anne (née Torley) Rock in Ottawa, where he was raised and educated through secondary school. He received a B.A. in 1968 and an LL.B. in 1971 at the University of Ottawa and began his 20-year career as a trial lawyer where he specialized in civil, commercial and administrative litigation.[1]

As a student leader in June 1969 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.

Rock was the 52nd Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, serving from 1992 until 1993.[2]

Ministerial career

In 1993, he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Centre and named Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.[1] In that capacity, he introduced significant changes to the Criminal Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act and other federal legislation.[1] He became Minister of Health in 1997, where he facilitated the creation of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and more than doubled annual health research funding on a national scale.[1]

Subsequently, as Minister of Industry and Minister of Infrastructure, he introduced Canada’s innovation strategy, was responsible for Canada’s three granting councils and introduced legislation to create the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation to promote applied research in the social sciences and the humanities.[1]

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, all of the other leadership candidates were unable to affect Paul Martin's commanding lead. In 2003, Rock dropped out of the leadership and announced his support for Martin. He had 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.[3] He later endorsed Stéphane Dion's successful bid to lead the party.

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.

As the voice of Canadians at the United Nations, Rock was an outspoken advocate of human rights, human security and reforming the UN.[1] At the 2005 World Summit at the UN, Rock led the successful Canadian effort to secure the adoption by world leaders of the doctrine "Responsibility to Protect" that protects populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity.[1] Other roles at the UN included chairing a working group on obstacles to long-term development in Haiti, efforts to end the conflict in Northern Uganda and peace negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria involving the Government of Sudan and representatives of the three main rebel groups seeking greater autonomy for Darfur.[1]

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.[4] Rock remained in office until June 30, 2006 at Harper's request. Upon his departure, he called for an overhaul of the UN.[5] Rock submitted a report about child soldiers in Sri Lanka on January 15, 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.

University of Ottawa President

It was announced in May 2008 that Rock would be appointed the next president of the University of Ottawa.[6] Rock was a student at the university and graduated in 1970 with a law degree.

Student activities

At his time at the University of Ottawa, Rock was a former President of the SFUO (the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa) in 1969.[1] After the announcement of Rock's appointment to President of the University of Ottawa, The Ottawa Citizen wrote:

At a time when the university, like other Canadian campuses, is experiencing a resurgence in student activism, Mr. Rock would bring a sensitivity to student issues, said Mr. Mitchell. "This is something that Allan Rock is particularly qualified for, being a former student leader himself." [6]

On December 1, 2009, Rock made a guest appearance in the University of Ottawa's Department of Theatre's production of the play Les amis. Funds raised by this event went to the United Way Campaign and the Bon Appétit! Student Food Bank.


Marc Kelly

Rock has had several conflicts with a former student, Marc Kelly, who was eventually de-registered and banned from the campus during the winter 2010 semester, thereby barring Kelly from his candidacy for president of the student federation.[7] On Monday, November 3, 2008, Kelly entered Rock's office, unannounced and without an appointment, to request a meeting to discuss a complaint he felt had been unfairly dealt with. Upon entering President Rock's office, Kelly immediately informed Mr. Rock that he had not received a response to his e-mail, at which point Rock raised his voice and repeatedly demanded that Kelly leave his office. Kelly continued to press Mr. Rock for an answer as to when Rock would respond to his e-mail and did not leave Rock's office until a full minute later, when Rock told Kelly "you'll get it [the response] when you get it. Thank you. Goodbye." Kelly recorded the entire conversation without Rock's knowledge.[8] On Monday, November 10, 2008, Kelly e-mailed the audio recording from November 3 to 36,000 uOttawa students, 2,300 uOttawa faculty members and 3,000 uOttawa administrative staff with the subject line "President Rock, Please Stop".[9] On February 26, 2009, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association wrote to Rock to express its concern over his administration's banning of a student poster and to ask that he redress the situation with a public declaration.[10]

Joseph Hickey

On December 11, 2009, a student, Joseph Hickey, was handcuffed and removed from Rock's office due to a trespass order that barred the student from his courses, graduate research, and teacher assistant work. Hickey was trying to meet with Rock to discuss the order.[11]

Ann Coulter

Amid much media attention, right-wing commentator and author Ann Coulter was scheduled to give a talk at the University of Ottawa on March 23, 2010. The talk was cancelled following student protests at the talk venue. The organizers of the event blamed the university and the protesters.[12] Rock responded in a university press release suggesting that the organizers may have needlessly cancelled the talk. At the centre of the controversy was a letter sent to Coulter before her scheduled talk in Ottawa and signed by the Vice President Academic. The letter by the Vice President Academic warned that Coulter could be arrested for hate speech. The letter was condemned as a violation of academic freedom by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and widely criticized in the media.[13][14] Three weeks after the cancelled Coulter event, Rock publicly stated having pre-approved the letter as the institution's response.[15][16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Rock, Allan. "President and Vice-Chancellor Biography". Website. University of Ottawa. Retrieved March 24, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. The Law Society of Upper Canada, List of Law Society Treasurers
  3. "Rock sends regrets, won't run to lead Liberals", CBC News, February 3, 2006
  4. "McNee tapped as Rock's UN replacement", The Globe and Mail, February 16, 2006
  5. Departing Allan Rock calls for major UN overhaul, CTV News, July 2, 2006
  6. 6.0 6.1 'Rock for university president', The Ottawa Citizen, May 30, 2008
  7. "De Bellefeuille disqualifie Kelly: La decision ira en appel". La Rotonde. Retrieved January 21, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Letter sent to Mr. Kelly on November 4, 2008". Office of the President speeches and messages. Retrieved November 13, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Canadian Civil Liberties Letter" (PDF). Letter. Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Retrieved March 25, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Battle to stay on campus leads to arrest - Student arrested for trespassing while making an appointment". The Fulcrum. Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Retrieved January 7, 2010. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Ann Coulter's speech in Ottawa cancelled", Globe and Mail, March 24, 2010.
  13. "University to Ann Coulter: 'Please watch your mouth'", National Post, March 22, 2010.
  14. Free Speech. What a Concept!, Rex Murphy on The National, March 25, 2010.
  15. Video - University Senate meeting, April 12, 2010.
  16. "The Coulter affair - University of Ottawa president Allan Rock is of two minds about how it all went down", The Ottawa Citizen, April 17, 2010.

External links

26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet Posts (5)
Predecessor Office Successor
Brian Tobin Minister of Industry
Lucienne Robillard
Brian Tobin Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Joe McGuire
Brian Tobin Minister of Western Economic Diversification
Rey Pagtakhan
David Dingwall Minister of Health
Anne McLellan
Pierre Blais Minister of Justice
Anne McLellan
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
vacant, previously
Marcel Massé
Minister responsible for Infrastructure
position abolished