Leonard Marchand

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Leonard Marchand
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Kamloops–Cariboo
In office
Preceded byDistrict was created in 1966
Succeeded byDistrict was abolished in 1976
Senator for Kamloops-Cariboo, British Columbia
In office
Appointed byPierre Trudeau
Personal details
Leonard Stephen Marchand

(1933-11-16)November 16, 1933
Vernon, British Columbia
DiedJune 3, 2016(2016-06-03) (aged 82)
Kamloops, British Columbia
Political partyLiberal

Leonard Stephen "Len" Marchand, PC CM OBC (November 16, 1933 – June 3, 2016) was a Canadian politician. He was the first person of First Nations status to serve in the federal cabinet, after being the first Status Indian elected and serving as a Member of Parliament. He was also the first First Nations person to serve as a Parliamentarian. He served as Parliamentary Secretary, Minister of State, Minister of the Environment and Senator. [1]

Early life[edit]

Marchand was born in Vernon, British Columbia on November 16, 1933.[2] A member of the Okanagan Indian Band, he attended school at the Okanagan Indian Day School, the Kamloops Indian Residential School and Vernon high school.[3] He went on to graduate from the University of British Columbia in 1959 with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture.[3] In 1964 Marchand later completed a masters degree in range management from the University of Idaho.[2] After pursuing a career as an agronomist, he left the field 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. He was hired as a special assistant to two successive Cabinet ministers.


Marchand entered politics and was elected to the 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 was the first Status Indian to be elected as an MP.

He became parliamentary secretary to Jean Chrétien, who was the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, helping persuade 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. He was the first Status Indian to be appointed to a cabinet position. 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 Senate, the second First Nations Canadian to be appointed (the first was officially James Gladstone, but in reality was Guy Williams). Marchand persuaded the Upper House to establish the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, on which he served as chairman.

Marchand 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. He died on June 3, 2016.[4]

Member of Parliament Robert Falcon Ouellette gave a tribute to Len Marchand in the House of Commons on June 9, 2016.[5]


Marchard is the father of Leonard Marchand Jr., a justice of the British Columbia Court of Appeal.[6]

Legacy and honours[edit]

Order of Canada (CM) ribbon bar.png Order British Columbia ribbon bar.svg
QEII Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png 125canada ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.svg

Ribbon Description Notes
Order of Canada (CM) ribbon bar.png Order of Canada (CM)
  • Member
  • 1999
Order British Columbia ribbon bar.svg Order of British Columbia (OBC)
  • Member
  • 2014
  • [8]
QEII Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
  • 1977
  • Canadian Version of this Medal
125canada ribbon.png 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal
  • 1992
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2002
  • Canadian Version of this Medal
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.svg Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2012
  • Canadian version of this Medal


There is a Leonard Marchand fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[10]


  1. ^ ICTMN Staff, "Len Marchand, First Status Indian Elected to Canadian Parliament, Walks On" Archived 2016-10-26 at the Wayback Machine, Indian Country Today Media Network, 7 June 2016
  2. ^ a b "Profile of Federal Candidates Kamlooos-Shuswap Riding". Eagle Valley News. 18 April 1979. p. 18.
  3. ^ a b Williams, Bryce (20 June 1968). "Kamloops: 23-Year Fulton Empire Shaky?". The Vancouver Sun. p. 6.
  4. ^ "Len Marchand Sr., former MP and senator, has died - Kamloops This Week". Archived from the original on 10 September 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  5. ^ https://openparliament.ca/debates/2016/6/6/robert-falcon-ouellette-1/
  6. ^ McIntyre, Pete. "Justice Len Marchand Jr. appointed to B.C. Court of Appeal". Vernon Matters. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  7. ^ Okanagan band member receives Order of B.C.
  8. ^ "2014 Recipient: The Honourable Leonard Marchand – Kamloops : Order of BC".
  9. ^ "1999 Honorary Degree Recipients, Thompson Rivers University".
  10. ^ "Leonard Marchand fonds, Library and Archives Canada". 20 July 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]