Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the FTQ, or Fédération des travailleurs du Québec, the labour organization where I worked for 19 years, on the eve of its 40th anniversary. It was born on February 16, 1957 out of the merger of the Fédération provinciale du travail du Québec and the Fédération des unions industrielles du Québec.
In actual fact, the FTQ is far more than 40 years old. Its origins go back to the end of the last century. It builds on the old traditions of a combination of European and North American trade unionism, and is heir to the rich history of the international labour movement.
Today, the FTQ represents 480,000 people working in all sectors and all regions of Quebec. In addition to doggedly defending the interests of wage earners of all backgrounds, the FTQ has also taken up the cause of the sovereignty of Quebec. As well, it battles for its membership's right to work and to live in French.
The exceptional contribution the FTQ has made to Quebec society is universally recognized. On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I wish it all the best on its 40th anniversary.