OTTAWA – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and lay a wreath at the National War Memorial as he continues his Canadian tour in Ottawa today.
One of the Republican party’s top prospects for a run at the White House in 2016, Christie was in Calgary Thursday to meet with Alberta Premier Jim Prentice and voice his support for the controversial TransCanada (TSX:TRP) pipeline that will carry oil from northern Alberta’s oilsands to the Gulf Coast.
Christie, who has indicated he will announce his presidential intentions next year, is a supporter of Harper, who he called a great friend of the United States.
“I’ve been so impressed with the prime minister’s sound, skillful, principled, conservative leadership and the strong voice that he’s exhibited – not only here in Canada but around the world,” said Christie.
“I cannot wait to see him personally, shake his hand and thank him for the leadership he’s providing.”
Christie, who thanked Canada several times in a speech to a Calgary business audience, also intends to meet with Ontario power providers who provided help when New Jersey was pounded by hurricane Sandy in 2012.
He intends to lay a wreath at the National War Memorial, particularly in honour of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was gunned down in October.
“He was the heroic soldier who was gunned down defending the Parliament, the capital and the Canadian people from a vicious and radical attacker,” Christie said.
“I think it’s important for all Americans to say to Canadian soldiers and Canadian people thank your for standing by our side in the war against radical terror.”
Christie singled out Canada’s military contribution to the war in Afghanistan as well as current efforts to curb the spread of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
He said the U.S. must stop treating Canada as an afterthought and pursue more ties in the future.
“America has to pay closer attention to its friends – to its most important allies,” said Christie.
“The U.S.-Canada relationship has got to be a priority.”