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Jean Marchand; Canadian Politician, Labor Leader

Jean Marchand, 69, the Quebec labor leader and politician who helped Pierre Elliott Trudeau become Canada’s prime minister. Marchand, who held six Cabinet posts in two Liberal governments and then served as Speaker of the Canadian Senate, was a noted orator who first collaborated with Trudeau on behalf of striking asbestos miners in 1949. Marchand was dubbed one of the “three wise men” from Quebec who decided to enter federal politics in 1965 by joining Liberal Prime Minister Lester Pearson’s Cabinet. The others were Trudeau and former newspaper editor Gerard Pelletier. Together they fought to make Canada an officially bilingual country and to fend off separatist pressures in their native province. At first it appeared that Marchand, with his populist touch, might succeed Pearson. But instead he promoted Trudeau as leader and helped create the “Trudeaumania” that swept the country after 1968. In Quebec City on Sunday after an accidental fall last month.


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