Denis Rocan

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Denis Rocan (born February 14, 1949) is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1986 to 2007, and served as speaker of the assembly from 1988 to 1995. Rocan was a member of the Progressive Conservative Party, but became an independent in 2007.[1]

Rocan was born to a French Canadian family in Somerset, Manitoba and was raised in north-end Winnipeg.[2] He is also métis by background[3] and a direct descendant of Jean-Baptiste Lagimodière and Marie-Anne Gaboury. He was educated at Sacré-Coeur in Winnipeg, Somerset Collegiate and Otterburne College. He is fluently bilingual in English and French. Rocan worked as a farmer before entering political life, and also operated a building and moving company and a grain business.[2] He is a Shriner and a freemason, as well as a member of the Royal Canadian Legion.

He was first elected to the Manitoba legislature in the 1986 provincial election, winning the rural, southern constituency of Turtle Mountain.[1] Rural seats in southern Manitoba are generally considered safe for the Progressive Conservative party, and Rocan was elected by more than 2,000 votes over his nearest opponent.[4] The New Democratic Party won the election, and Rocan served as a member of the opposition.

Rocan was re-elected over Liberal candidate Ross McMillan in the 1988 election, though his majority was cut to about 600 votes.[4] The Progressive Conservatives emerged from this election with a minority government, and Rocan was appointed as speaker of the assembly by premier Gary Filmon on July 21, 1988.[1] He was the first Franco-Manitoban to serve as speaker for the provincial assembly.[5]

Support for the Liberal Party declined in the 1990 provincial election, and Rocan was easily re-elected in the redistributed constituency of Gladstone. He won the constituency a second time in the 1995 election, but was not re-appointed as speaker and served for the next four years as a backbench supporter of Filmon's government.[1] Rocan was respected by all parties in the legislature, and his tenure as speaker was free of the controversies over partisanship which plagued his successor, Louise Dacquay.

Further redistribution brought Rocan into the riding of Carman for the 1999 provincial election. He was easily returned, and was re-elected again in the 2003 election.[1] The Progressive Conservatives lost both elections to the New Democratic Party, and Rocan served as a member of the opposition. A former smoker, he supported premier Gary Doer's efforts to ban public smoking in 2003.[3]

Rocan supported his friend Reg Alcock in the federal elections of 2000 and 2004, despite the fact that Alcock is a Liberal.[3]

On November 16, 2006, Rocan lost the Carman Conservative nomination to Blaine Pedersen. On April 18, 2007, Rocan was removed from the Conservative caucus for supporting the NDP budget, which his party opposed.[6][7] He considered running as an independent candidate in the 2007 election, but declined.

Rocan later bought a small house in Arizona for the winter, becoming a long-haul trucker.[3]

Electoral record[edit]

Manitoba general election, 2003: Carman
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Denis Rocan 3,523 51.86 +3.05 $21,274.32
Liberal Don Oldcorn 1,825 26.87 −3.37 $11,694.92
New Democratic Bill Harrison 1,445 21.27 +1.22 $3,019.50
Total valid votes 6,793 99.62
Rejected and declined ballots 26
Turnout 6,819 54.14 −6.33
Electors on the lists 12,595


  1. ^ a b c d e "MLA Biographies - Living". Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. Retrieved 2014-04-28.
  2. ^ a b "CPA Activities: The Canadian Scene". Canadian Parliamentary Review. 11 (3). 1988.
  3. ^ a b c d Lett, Dan (August 23, 2010). "Politics could use Rocan's honour". Winnipeg Free Press.
  4. ^ a b "Turtle Mountain". Manitoba Votes 2007. CBC News.
  5. ^ Adams, Christopher (2008). Politics in Manitoba: Parties, Leaders, and Voters. University of Manitoba Press. p. 49. ISBN 0887553559.
  6. ^ "Denis Rocan est expulsé du parti conservateur du Manitoba" (in French). Radio Canada. April 18, 2007.
  7. ^ "Tories oust MLA over budget vote". CBC News. April 18, 2007. Retrieved 2016-04-12.

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