11/07/2012 01:28 EST | Updated 01/06/2013 05:12 EST

Harper's Obama Congratulations: PM Releases Statement, But Not As Quickly As Mulcair


OTTAWA - Stephen Harper formally congratulated U.S. President Barack Obama on his re-election to the White House in Wednesday's early morning hours.

The prime minister's office issued a statement from India moments after Obama's Republican challenger Mitt Romney formally conceded in a speech from Boston.

"Over the last four years, the president and I have worked on several important bilateral initiatives to generate jobs and growth in both our countries. This includes the Beyond the Border Action Plan, which will speed up trade and travel across our borders while also enhancing security," Harper said in the statement.

"We are also working together with other partners to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which seeks to boost trade in the Asia-Pacific region."


Perhaps taking his cues from Romney, Harper's statement was released nearly two hours after major American television networks and news agencies declared Obama the winner.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, meanwhile, released his statement within minutes of the U.S. networks' projections.

Harper watched the election returns with his wife, Laureen, from their hotel in New Delhi.

Mulcair's office released its congratulatory remarks within minutes of the U.S. networks calling the Obama victory late Tuesday night.

Mulcair's "heartfelt congratulations" reflected the unabashed support that many of Canada's New Democrats have heaped on Obama in recent days.

"President Obama knows that a nation can achieve more when its citizens work together to lift each other up. He also recognizes that sustainable development is crucial to ensuring a brighter future for our children and grandchildren," Mulcair said.

"These are values that New Democrats are proud to share."

The NDP's pro-Obama sentiments were close to the surface Tuesday night when Canadian MPs gathered at a U.S. Embassy event at an Ottawa hotel to watch the returns of the hard-fought U.S. race.

"I hope and pray that Obama wins just because I hope social democracy has a chance in the world because I really despair that if Romney wins, it's a rise of neo-conservatism around the world," said New Democrat MP Pat Martin.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, attending the same gathering, said Canada was poised to work with its top ally and friend to find ways to create jobs and build the economy.

"The bottom line is our government has worked very well with the last two administrations, and I'm convinced we'll work well going forward," said Baird.

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