Marchand, Félix-Gabriel

Félix-Gabriel Marchand, lawyer, journalist, playwright, premier of Québec 1897-1900 (b at St-Jean, LC 9 Jan 1832; d at Québec City 25 Sept 1900). Marchand, one of the last "vrais rouges" and an important transitional figure in Québec political life, assumed leadership of the shattered provincial Liberals in 1892 and led them to victory in 1897, promising, in a direct challenge to the Roman Catholic Church, to restore political control over education. The church blocked Marchand, however, and controlled education until the 1960s. Under Marchand the Liberal Party became an agent of industrial expansion, welcoming foreign capital and technology, developing Québec's vast hydroelectric-power potential and exploiting its forest resources. Although bitterly criticized, these policies were the foundation of Liberal political success for more than a generation. In theatre, Marchand's work (6 plays, 5 of them produced) significantly modernized Canadian repertory, opening it up to Parisian influences.