Leonard Marchand

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The Hon.
Leonard Marchand
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Kamloops–Cariboo
In office
Preceded by District was created in 1966
Succeeded by District was abolished in 1976
Senator for Kamloops-Cariboo, British Columbia
In office
Appointed by Pierre Trudeau
Personal details
Born (1933-11-16) November 16, 1933 (age 82)
Vernon, British Columbia
Political party Liberal

Leonard Stephen Marchand, PC CM (born November 16, 1933) is a former Canadian politician. He was the first person of First Nations ethnicity to serve in the federal cabinet, and was the first Status Indian to serve as a Member of Parliament.

Marchand was born in Vernon, British Columbia as a member of the Okanagan Indian Band. An agronomist by training, he left his profession in the mid-1960s to work with the North American Indian Brotherhood. His work in native affairs took him to Ottawa to lobby on aboriginal issues, and he was hired as a special assistant to two successive Cabinet ministers.

He entered politics and was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1968 election as a Liberal Party candidate for the British Columbia riding of Kamloops-Cariboo. He defeated high-profile Progressive Conservative candidate E. Davie Fulton.

He became parliamentary secretary to Jean Chrétien, who was the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and persuaded Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to begin land settlement negotiations between the federal government and the First Nations.

In 1976, Marchand was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of State for small business. In 1977, he was promoted to Minister of the Environment, and held the post until his and the government's defeat in the 1979 election.

Marchand returned to British Columbia where he became administrator for the Nicola Valley Indian Administration. In 1984, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate, the second Aboriginal Canadian to be appointed (the first was James Gladstone). Marchand persuaded the Upper House to establish the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, on which Marchand served as chairman.

He retired from the Senate in 1998 at the age of 64, eleven years ahead of the mandatory retirement age, in order to spend more time in British Columbia.

In 1999, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

In 2000, Caitlin Press published his autobiography, "Breaking Trail."

In 2014, it was announced that Marchand would become a recipient of the Order of British Columbia.[1]


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