In Canada, Chris Christie Says Keystone Pipeline Delay 'No Way to Treat a Friend'

PHOTO: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Energy Sector Luncheon in Calgary, Alberta on Dec. 4, 2014.Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press/AP Photo
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Energy Sector Luncheon in Calgary, Alberta on Dec. 4, 2014.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, on a visit to Canada, said Thursday the federal government’s delay in approving the Keystone XL pipeline is “no way to treat a friend.”

“This is not about sending your oil across our land. It’s about maximizing the benefits of North America’s natural resources for everybody, about allowing markets to function, and about contributing to the prosperity of citizens both in the United States and in Canada,” Christie said in Calgary. “Our leaders’ comments on this topic should not be marked by parochialism, but by principles. And the principles should be enhancing the economic competitiveness of North America, treating allies and friends with respect and fair consideration, and creating jobs, growth and opportunity for everyone on both sides of the border.”

Christie believes the United States is “missing an enormous opportunity when we delay this development” and that the project has “languished” far too long, noting it sends an “unfortunate signal” to our ally.

“It should be done and it should be done already,” he said.

This is Christie’s third trip abroad as governor, his second in the past three months after he went to Mexico in September. He visited Israel in 2012. The trip is also a likely attempt to bolster his foreign policy credentials ahead of a possible 2016 presidential bid.

Just last month the oil pipeline, which would carry tar sand oil from Canada to the United States Gulf Coast, failed to win approval in the Senate by just one vote. The Senate is likely to take up the Keystone pipeline again once the new Congress meets next year.

In his keynote address to the Calgary Petroleum Club, Christie also more bluntly criticized the White House, saying both Canada and Mexico “have been made to feel that they were an afterthought in U.S. economic and foreign policy.”

“You should not be an afterthought you should be our first thought,” he said. “In the last few years, the leadership of the United States government has not always placed sufficient priority on North America. This is a mistake and a missed opportunity.”

Christie said “we have a chance to create a new era of economic strength for this continent,” but the two countries must “believe in each other,” as well as work together on trade, economic cooperation, and “in tapping the amazing energy resources with which we have been blessed, both here in Canada and in the United States.”

In a lighter moment after his speech, Christie was asked about his possible presidential aspirations and if he may want to announce getting into the 2016 race at the event.

“Given that you are in the city that is the birthplace of Sen. Ted Cruz this might be a very good time to reach out to that part of the party and announce you are seeking the Republican nomination for president of the United States,” the hopeful questioner offered.

"He’s giving me advice to announce the presidency of my country in a foreign country,” Christie said to laughs. “As my friend Donald Trump would say, ‘You’re fired.’”

Christie said the 2016 election will be “an important one for our country and our world,” but he isn’t “going to make a decision about that until well in 2016.”

“I have made no mystery about the fact that I am thinking about running for president, but I have also made no mystery about the fact that I am not going to make any decision until well into next year…my wife and I and our family will make a decision about what we want to do about the presidency in 2015.”

Christie noted tongue firmly in cheek he’s “not the shy and retiring type,” but if he does decide to announce, his instinct is “I should probably announce it in the United States, but I’ll take your advice under consideration.”