Controversial Quebec Liberal to remain in race

André Forbes, the Manicouagan Liberal who has called First Nations people "featherheads" and lazy, is staying in the election race.

André Forbes, who called First Nations people 'featherheads,' can't be removed from ballot

André Forbes, centre, met with Liberal MP Dénis Coderre, right, in the Manicouagan riding Jan. 29, 2011. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said last week Forbes wouldn't run for the party, but on Monday Forbes declined to resign. (Métis de la Cote Nord)

André Forbes, the Manicouagan Liberal who once called First Nations people "featherheads" and lazy, is staying in the election race.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said last week the party was removing Forbes as a candidate in the Manicouagan riding around Sept-Iles and Baie Comeau, Que., but Forbes said Monday morning he's staying in the race and will bill himself as an Independent candidate.  

However, he'll still be on the ballot as a Liberal, because he's not stepping down, and the party can't fire him now that he's been nominated. That means the party apparently won't be able to run a candidate in the riding.  

The riding is currently held by Bloc MP Gerald Asselin, who won a third term in 2008, and wasn't expected to change hands.

Election rules

Forbes said his team consulted Elections Canada, but his options were limited because he is already registered as the Liberal candidate. He said he can't run as an Independent on the ballot because one person can't have two candidacies in a single election campaign.

Forbes said he was left with only two choices: run as a Liberal, even though Ignatieff has publicly denounced him, or quit and go home.

"I refuse to quit," Forbes said in French. "After reflection with my family, my team, my volunteers, the constituents in the county, I've decided to remain the federal candidate for 2011."

Forbes complained Ignatieff didn't take the time to talk to him before letting him go.

"I want to underline they gave me only 10 minutes on April 6 to respond. Somebody told me you're on TV, somebody called me and said you've been tossed. It took 10 minutes. Not a lot of time to defend myself," Forbes said.

A spokesman for Ignatieff said the party would prefer Forbes remove himself as a candidate, and the party doesn't endorse his affiliation with them.

NDP attack

Forbes said the NDP news release that revealed his past comments attacked him and attacked the Liberal party.

He said the release didn't mention that he is a Métis.

"Whether you like it or not, with aboriginals, if you're Indian that means a member of a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, a featherhead is a First Nations. Métis, Inuit don't wear feathers. We call ourselves half bloods ... we have lots of names."