Leonard Stephen Marchand, politician, agronomist (born 16 November 1933 in Vernon, BC; died 3 June 2016 in Kamloops, BC).
Leonard Stephen Marchand, politician, agronomist (born 16 November 1933 in Vernon, BC; died 3 June 2016 in Kamloops, BC). Len Marchand was the first Indigenous federal cabinet minister and the second Indigenous member of the federal Parliament after Louis Riel. Through early involvement with the North American Indian Brotherhood, he left a career as agricultural research scientist in 1965 to work as special assistant to two successive cabinet ministers. He was elected Liberal MP for Kamloops-Cariboo in 1968, going on to serve as minister of state for Small Business from 1976 to 1977 and as minister of state for the Environment from 1977 to 1979. Defeated in 1979, he returned to British Columbia as administrator for the five-band Nicola Valley Indian Administration. He sat on the Senate from 1984 to 1998.
A low-profile politician considered successful in his ministerial roles, Marchand represented a liberal-individualist approach to business, environmental and Indigenous issues. This, and his qualified support for his party's policies on Aboriginal affairs, set him apart from the mainstream, both of Indigenous and of environmentalist activism.