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The Globe and Mail

Liberals sack Quebec candidate who founded white-supremacist group

A 2002 file photo of ousted Liberal candidate Andre Forbes.

Robert Skinner/The Canadian Press/Robert Skinner/The Canadian Press

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has fired one of his Quebec candidates over disparaging remarks he made about aboriginal Canadians.

André Forbes had been the candidate in Manicouagan, a community in northern Quebec. He was the founder and former spokesperson of l'Association des droits des blancs, or the Association for the Rights of Whites.

In a statement, Mr. Ignatieff said that Mr. Forbes "has been informed he is no longer a candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada."

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He added: "Mr. Forbes' comments have no place within the Liberal Party of Canada."

It was the NDP who revealed Mr. Forbes's past and his remarks, including calling native Canadians "featherheads" and suggesting that governments recognized their rights over those of white people. The party sent out a release Wednesday morning questioning Mr. Ignatieff's judgment in having Mr. Forbes as a candidate.

"As soon as I was apprised of past comments made by ... André Forbes, I immediately asked my staff to inquire about their validity," Mr. Ignatieff said in his statement. "We categorically condemn any comments that seek to divide Canadians on the basis of their culture or ethnicity."

According to the NDP, Mr. Forbes was nominated as the Liberal candidate in August of 2009 and met in January with senior Liberal Quebec MP Denis Coderre.

"The Liberal Party vets all candidates, but there's no doubt an error occurred in this particular process," Leslie Church, Mr. Ignatieff's director of communications, told The Globe.

"We do criminal and financial background checks, plus social media and other online searches to cover the bases. What's important though is regardless of the thoroughness of the background check, if something does come to light at any point, as it did today with Mr. Forbes, we're willing to act swiftly and decisively to ensure that Liberal values are reflected in the team we're putting forward."

At a campaign stop in Cranbrook, B.C., NDP Leader Jack Layton said he was pleased with Mr. Ignatieff's dismissal of his candidate.

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"It's unfortunate that they were not discovered earlier on," Mr. Layton said, adding that the Liberal candidate's affiliations were well known within Quebec.

With a report from Gloria Galloway

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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