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Louis Laberge, the colourful, legendary Quebec labour leader who organized his fellow altar boys, went to jail for counselling civil disobedience and set up innovative job-creation ventures, died Thursday of heart failure. He was 78.

A state funeral will be held Wednesday at Montreal's Marie Reine du Monde Cathedral.

Mr. Laberge and two other top union leaders, Yvon Charbonneau and Marcel Pepin spent four months in jail after they urged public-sector strikers in 1972 to ignore a back-to-work injunction.

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He launched the country's first labour-sponsored venture capital fund, started Corvée Habitation, a fund that helped construction workers buy houses they built and unionized Hydro-Quebec workers.

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