Jean Marchand, union leader, politician (b at Champlain, Qué 20 Dec 1918; d at St Augustine, Qué 28 Aug 1988). After completing a social-science degree in labour relations at Laval (1942), he became an organizer for the Fédération de la pulpe et du papier and for the Confédération des travailleurs catholiques du Canada (1944). Secretary general of the CTCC from 1947, he was elected president 1961. During the 1950s, with other unionists, intellectuals and reform members of the Québec Liberal Party, he helped bring about the defeat of the Union Nationale government (1960). His union central, renamed the Confederation of National Trade Unions in 1960, worked closely with the Liberal government of Jean Lesage and won some legislative reforms, such as the right of government employees to form unions and to strike.
Critical of the rise of separatism in Québec in the early 1960s, Marchand was persuaded by PM Lester B. Pearson to be a member of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and to join the federal Liberal Party in 1965. His presence was designed to enhance the francophone presence in Cabinet and to defend the cause of federalism in Québec. He agreed on condition that 2 longtime friends, Pierre Trudeau and Gérard Pelletier, be allowed to join him. He held several important Cabinet posts, resigning in 1976 to run in the Québec provincial election to try to prevent the Parti Québécois from coming to power. He failed in both objectives. He was appointed to the Senate in December 1976; selected Speaker in March 1980, he played a central role in the 1981 debate over reform of the Constitution. After his resignation from the Senate he was president of the Canadian Transport Commission 1983-85, when he became a director of Ports Canada and vice-chairman of the Québec Port Corp. In 1986 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.