Warren Allmand, the solicitor general for the Pierre Trudeau government, died at 84 on Dec. 7. Register file photo

Warren Allmand, who died at 84, was a principled politician

By  Alan Hustak, Catholic Register Special
  • December 13, 2016

MONTREAL – Warren Allmand is being mourned as an exceptional and principled Roman Catholic politician who, as solicitor general in Pierre Trudeau’s cabinet in 1976, introduced the bill which abolished capital punishment in Canada.

Mr. Allmand, who died Dec. 7 at 84, was elected to Parliament as the Liberal Member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in 1965 and held the Montreal riding for 31 years.

His bill to end the death penalty was hotly contested and, in a free vote, passed by just six votes. He called the death penalty an “immoral and useless” practice that had to end in order to create a “world society in which our descendants can live in peace and justice.”

In 1988, however, he was branded “anti-life” by some conservative Catholics when he voted against amendments to the criminal code which would have made abortion a crime. Mr. Allmand was unapologetic. He said he opposed abortion but didn’t believe that a woman who had one should be guilty of a criminal offence.

“We have many types of behaviour which are immoral, which at one time were punishable offences, like homosexual acts, adultery, blasphemy, suicide and gambling,” he explained. “Although I personally believe some of these types of behaviour are immoral, I do not believe they are proper subject matter for the criminal law.

“If certain individuals insist on putting certain behaviour in the criminal law when there is a wide variety of views in respect to that behaviour, then it will not be enforceable. And if you can’t enforce it, the whole criminal law is brought into disrespect and disrepute.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Mr. Allmand’s “legacy will live on in the enormous contributions he made to Canada as an MP and Minister.”

“He was a man of faith and a man of the people,” said Msgr. Francis Coyle, pastor of St. Patrick’s Basilica, who will preside at the funeral in Montreal Dec. 19.

Mr. Allmand, the son of a CPR railroad man, was born in Montreal Sept. 19, 1932. He received a Jesuit education at Loyola College, earned a degree in economics from St. Francis Xavier University and a law degree from McGill University and the University of Paris.

After leaving Parliament in 1997, Mr. Allmand served as head of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, where he championed the International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. He also was involved with Kairos and director of the Newman Centre in Montreal.

He returned to politics in 2005 when he was elected a Montreal city councillor. He retired in 2009.

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Allmand stated that he opposed capital punishment "simply because it is immoral", yet, like so many human rights activists, he was softer on the immorality of abortion. Privileged Catholics like Allmand, Trudeau, Clark and Copps caved in to...

Allmand stated that he opposed capital punishment "simply because it is immoral", yet, like so many human rights activists, he was softer on the immorality of abortion. Privileged Catholics like Allmand, Trudeau, Clark and Copps caved in to anti-Catholic pressures to uproot our Christian laws.

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