Félix-Gabriel Marchand worked for the common good with his involvement in education and civic administration all the while pursuing his career as a notary. He was born in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu in 1832 and owed some of his fame to his literary talent, as well as his ability as an orator and his journalistic writings in the Franco-Canadien and Canadien-français newspapers.
Liberal deputy for Saint-Jean from 1867 on, he became Quebec Liberal Party leader in 1892 and was Quebec Premier from 1897 until his untimely death on September 25, 1900.
The Marchand government adopted a vigorous policy for the development and exploitation of natural resources, which allowed him to eliminate a provincial deficit that had reached $1 million. Pre-occupied with education, the Marchand government submitted a bill to create a Ministry of Public Instruction. This avant-garde project was struck down by the Legislative Council, then modified and finally adopted in 1899.
The author of several literary works, he was inducted as an officer of Public Instruction in France in 1879. He received a honorary doctorate from Laval University in 1891, was sworn in as a officer of the Légion d’honneur in 1898 and decorated with the Palms of an Officer of the Académie of the French Government.
He was the father of Gabriel Marchand and Father-in-Law of Raoul Dandurand.
Félix-Gabriel Marchand died while still in office in Quebec City on September 25, 1900 at the age of 68.