New Jersey Gov. Christie meets Harper in Ottawa, lays wreath at war memorial

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OTTAWA — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie emerged Friday from a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper touting the relationship between Canada and the U.S. – but saying little else.

The potential Republican party candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential election said he thinks even more could be done to forge closer ties between the two countries.

“The prime minister and I had a wonderful conversation and it was a great honour for me to meet him here in Canada and to express … (that) we have a fabulous relationship with Canada,” Christie said after he laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

“We could make it even stronger and I admire the prime minister greatly for the leadership he’s providing here in Canada.”

Though Christie did not provide details of his discussion with Harper, the two leaders already share at least one common goal: seeing the realization of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Christie has been a strong backer of the controversial proposal that would carry Alberta oilsands crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast. He reiterated his support Thursday for the long-delayed project during a visit to Calgary.

Christie received an unusually warm welcome in Ottawa for a governor of a U.S. state, landing meetings with Harper as well as senior Conservative cabinet ministers.

The governor tweeted and retweeted photos of himself with Employment Minister Jason Kenney, Industry Minister James Moore and Harper.

“Thank you (Harper) for a very productive meeting this morning. I look forward to working together in the future,” he wrote in the tweet that accompanied the Harper photo.

Christie was later joined by government House leader Peter Van Loan at the National War Memorial, where the governor laid a wreath in honour of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was gunned down at the site in October.

Christie was asked if he would run for the U.S. presidency.

“I haven’t made any decision yet,” Christie said. “When I make my decision, I’ll let you know.”

Christie was also asked whether he felt cleared of allegations he was involved in a politically motivated scheme last year to create traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to New York City.

New Jersey lawmakers said they found no evidence Christie was involved in any wrongdoing related to the lane closures. However, they did not rule out the possibility because they have been unable to interview several witnesses.

The governor didn’t reply to several questions about the issue before getting into a vehicle and driving away.

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