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Prime Minister Jean Chretien walks with his press secretary Patrick Parisot after a news conference in Ottawa on Jan. 16, 1993.

Peter Jones/Reuters

Another public servant and key adviser to former prime minister Jean Chrétien is joining Michael Ignatieff's senior staff.

Patrick Parisot has resigned as ambassador to Algeria to take up the post as the Opposition Leader's principal secretary. He replaces Jean-Marc Fournier, who recently left for provincial politics and is now Justice Minister in Jean Charest's government.

Mr. Parisot, a former broadcast journalist, joined the Chrétien PMO in 1993 as a communications advisor and later became his special policy advisor. In 2001, he left the PMO after Mr. Chrétien appointed him ambassador to Chile and he served as Canada's ambassador to Portugal before moving to the post in Algeria.

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He is very close to Mr. Chrétien; he is also a friend of Ignatieff chief of staff Peter Donolo. The two men had worked together under the former prime minister.

It is expected Mr. Parisot will play a big role on the Quebec file for Mr. Ignatieff.

He is the fourth high-level bureaucrat who has joined the Ignatieff OLO, fuelling suspicions among Tories that the public service is teeming with Liberals.

Kevin Chan was the first to leave, departing the Clerk of the Privy Council's office to join Mr. Ignatieff's team last year. His departure led to much consternation in the Tory ranks, given the sensitive nature of his job as executive assistant to former clerk Kevin Lynch.

Last year, Brian Bohunicky and the late Mario Laguë both left the public service to work for the Opposition Leader.

In addition to the Parisot appointment, Leslie Church is to be named the new director of communications to Mr. Ignatieff. She replaces Mr. Laguë, who was tragically killed this summer in a motorcycle accident.

Ms. Church had been filling in temporarily in the job. She came to Ottawa as an Ignatieff Liberal and is one of the few who has survived all of the upheavals and transitions in the Liberal leader's office.

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And Brigitte Legault, who was a Liberal candidate in Quebec in the last federal election, is now senior Quebec adviser. She comes in as a former Paul Martin devotee - proving that the Ignatieff OLO is, to steal a phrase from the leader, a "big red tent."

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