March 30, 1995 For Immediate Release


"Allan Rock is jeopardizing the defendant's right to a fair and independent review of his case."

Ottawa - Yesterday in the House of Commons, Garry Breitkreuz, MP for Yorkton-Melville, questioned Justice Minister Allan Rock about commenting publicly on a case before the Alberta Court of Appeal. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, in their ruling on the Simmermon case, found the Orders in Council passed by the previous Tory government pertaining to firearms legislation to be invalid because Section 116(2) of the Criminal Code had not been adhered to. Ignoring the Alberta court ruling, Allan Rock used the same procedure to prohibit even more firearms on January 1st of this year.

Breitkreuz asked Allan Rock, "On Monday the Justice Minister twice stated that the Alberta court decision was wrong. Other Ministers have repeatedly told this House they cannot comment on cases before the courts. Why is he commenting? Is he trying to influence the courts in this matter?" Rock replied, "...there is nothing inappropriate about the government saying that it disagrees with the court judgement and it is appealing it. We are going to be making our arguments in appellate court and we are confident that those arguments will prevail."

Breitkreuz shot back, "This decision is being appealed by the Alberta government not the federal government. It is my understanding that the Federal government has not even applied for intervenor status. Yet the Minister said on Monday: "We will pursue the appeal with every confidence that we shall win it". The Attorney General for Canada has publicly vowed to pursue and win the appeal. How can this defendant get a fair trial?" asked Breitkreuz. Mr. Rock persisted in commenting on a case before the courts saying, "I am very confident the federal interpretation of the law will prevail."

Breitkreuz countered, "This issue is not dead and the Justice Minister is between a rock and hard place on this one. There are three issues left to be resolved: (1) Mr. Rock has tried to use his considerable influence to prejudice the outcome of a case currently in the Alberta Court of Appeal; thereby jeopardizing the defendant's right to a fair and independent review of his case, (2) He has made what amounts to a personal attack or censure on the Queen's Bench judge by saying he was wrong even though the judge's ruling has been supported by the Manitoba Court of Appeal and a BC Provincial Court, and (3) His credibility as Justice Minister and a lawyer are seriously in question because he persisted in making the same mistake as his predecessor by ramming his Orders in Council through without giving proper notice and time for review by Parliament." Breitkreuz concluded, "As a famous movie star once said, I'll be back."


If you need more information please call:

Yorkton: (306) 782-3309

Ottawa: (613) 992-4394