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OKIB member to sit on B.C.'s highest court

Justice Leonard Marchand.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/ Okanagan Indian Band
March 28, 2021 - 5:30 AM

An Okanagan Indian Band member has been appointed to the province's top court.

Already a Supreme Court of British Columbia Justice, the Hon. Leonard Marchand has risen one step further and will now sit at the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Justice Marchand is an Okanagan Indian Band member and grew-up in Kamloops.

"This is truly an exciting announcement and I am so proud of Justice Marchand," Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis said in a media release. "It fills me with pride to see a member achieve such high office. He proves that we can all achieve great things through hard work, dedication, focus, and a desire to help others."

Justice Marchand is the son of Len Marchand, Sr., who in 1968 was the first status Indian elected to Parliament.

According to a media release from the Department of Justice Canada, Marchand Jr. graduated from UBC with a degree in chemical engineering in 1986 and went to work in the oil industry.

He stayed for five years before enrolling at the University of Victoria in 1991 to study law. Marchand then articled and practised law at Fulton & Company LLP in Kamloops from 1995 to 2013 before becoming a judge at the B.C. Provincial Court in 2013.

In 2017 he was appointed to the Supreme Court of B.C.

Throughout his career, Marchand has worked on reconciliation for Indigenous people through pursuing civil claims of historic child abuse in institutional settings and has represented a large number of residential school survivors. He helped negotiate and was a signatory in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, which was the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history. He also served on the Selection Committee for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In Kamloops, Justice Marchand has also presided in the First Nations Court where healing plans are developed for offenders following input from elders.

Marchand replaces Justice H.M. Groberman who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Feb 1, 2021.

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