Christie’s Canada Trip, Presidential Politics Converge
Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to travel to Canada in early December. According to a release sent out by his office Monday, the official purpose of the trip is to bolster economic and business ties with our neighbor to the north. Those convinced that the governor is planning a 2016 presidential run also suspect Christie may have an ulterior motive for the trade mission.
"I think you have to look at everything he does through the prism of presidential politics," said Peter Woolley, professor of Comparative Politics and Florham campus provost at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "It's true that many governors go abroad to promote business, but this is not any governor. This is a governor who seems intent on running a national campaign."
It is important for Christie to have at least the appearance of foreign policy experience and it is good for him to travel and represent New Jersey's business community and to talk about energy, Wooley said. He added it's also good for Christie to meet with foreign leaders.
"It's also good for him as presidential candidate to have to have this in his background. It's good for him to have the photo-ops and it's just one more thing for him in his resume that he can point to on the campaign trail," Woolley said.
The governor has insisted that he has not made up his mind yet about running for president in 2016, but most political insiders firmly believe he will toss his hat in the ring. Woolley was not surprised that some are tying the trip to Canada to a possible presidential run.
"I suspect he would do it any way as governor, but he almost has to do it as a presidential candidate," Woolley said.
According to the press release from his office, Christie will lead a state delegation to Canada on Dec. 4 and 5, including travel to Calgary, Ottawa, and Toronto.
There could be one contentious topic confronting Christie during his trip to Canada. The U.S. Senate was scheduled to vote Tuesday on approving the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. Statements made by President Barack Obama during his summit trip to Australia have many believing he could veto the bill.
Obama said he has been forced to repeatedly push back against the notion that the pipeline would be a huge job creator or would lower gas prices in America. Environmentalists said the oil from Canada is dirty and that any jobs created would be temporary.
Friday, the Republican-controlled House passed a measure to move forward with the pipeline.
"Gov. Christie will almost certainly be asked about his thoughts on the pipeline while he is in Canada," Woolley said.