Gérard Picard, labour leader, (born at Stratford-Centre, Qué 27 May 1907, died at Montréal, 19 Jun 1980). After completing a law degree at Laval, he was a journalist for L'Événement and L'Action catholique in Québec City during the early 1930s. Secretary-treasurer, then secretary general of the Confédération des travailleurs catholiques du Canada, he succeeded Alfred CHARPENTIER as president in 1946. Under his leadership the CTCC became more militant, as in several bitter and prolonged postwar strikes, including the 1949 ASBESTOS STRIKE and the violent 1952-53 strike of Louiseville textile workers that almost precipitated a province-wide general strike.
During the 1950s the CTCC devoted itself to democratizing the workplace through co-management, profit sharing and co-ownership, and it was one of the few organizations to oppose the policies and practices of the Union Nationale government of Maurice DUPLESSIS. In 1961 the CTCC became the Confédération des syndicats nationaux. Picard encouraged union activists to partake in political action. In 1959 he joined the Québec wing of the CCF, and in 1961 helped found the New Democratic Party, becoming its first associate president. In the mid-1960s he was appointed to the Canadian Council of Industrial Relations.