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Tories pout after Ignatieff opts against congratulatory phone call to Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives to Rideau Hall to tell Governor-General David Johnston he is prepared to form government on on May 4, 2011.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

So much for bonhomie in Canadian politics. Despite the huge Conservative win Monday night, there are Tories who are miffed Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff did not even bother to call Stephen Harper to congratulate him on his victory.

Jack Layton, the NDP Leader, called on election night, offering his good will and best wishes on winning a majority government.

Green Party Leader - and first-time MP - Elizabeth May says she is still trying to set up a call. "The PM was airborne most of the day," Ms. May told The Globe.

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Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe has not yet called, the PMO confirmed. But that doesn't rankle as much as it does that Mr. Ignatieff - who lost his own seat and almost lost the Liberal Party along with it - did not make an effort to personally speak to the Prime Minister.

They know it sounds petty. But it gets their goats a bit, according to one Conservative source, that the a leader who spent so much of the campaign saying he was an honorable guy, while criticizing their guy for being found in contempt of Parliament and for disrespecting democratic institutions, didn't call.

The Tory added that "24" - referring to 24 Sussex Drive, the Prime Minister's official residence - was not impressed.

It shows, too, the level of animosity between the Conservatives and the Liberals that this did not go unnoticed.

"I can confirm that Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Harper have not spoken," Liberal spokeswoman Leslie Church said Wednesday morning. "Mr. Ignatieff very publicly congratulated Mr. Harper in the opening lines of his concession speech on Monday night but there has been no private contact."

The first few lines of Mr. Ignatieff's election night address did, in fact, acknowledge the Tory win.

"I want to first of all offer my open-hearted congratulations to Prime Minister Stephen Harper," he said. "I want to offer my congratulations also to the new Leader of the Official Opposition, Jack Layton. Offer to him, on behalf of my party, sincere congratulations to two opponents, who have had the better of the night."

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Mr. Ignatieff resigned his post as leader Tuesday. He will be returning to Parliament Hill next week for one last caucus meeting, where it is expected a new interim leader will be chosen and recommended to the Liberal Party's national executive.

As for Mr. Harper, he's already back to work. On Wednesday morning he visited Governor-General David Johnston at Rideau Hall to say he was ready to form a government. But there is no word yet on when Parliament will resume sitting.

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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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