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Economy central to Campbell's priorities

All roads lead back to a strong economy for Premier Gordon Campbell who yesterday gave a thumbnail sketch of his priorities for his third mandate.

"Without a strong economy we can't do the other initiatives that we would like to undertake," Campbell said.

Education programs have to remain at the front of the B.C. Liberal agenda, according to Campbell.

"That's how we're going to actually build the strength for our province in the future," he said.

Health care came next for the premier, who explained expanding treatment delivery methods for patients is essential to lessening the burden on health-care providers.

Campbell's climate agenda, including the controversial carbon tax, which gave his political foes plenty of fodder through the election, will be pushed forward.

"The challenging economy does not mean that we don't have to still deal with the issues of climate change," he said. "If we are smart about it, I think, the climate agenda we've set will generate more economic activity in new green technology."

Closing the health and education gap between aboriginals and non-aboriginals through reconciliation and recognition is a "long road," Campbell said he's willing to travel.

"The world is changing too quickly for us to say there's just one thing," he said. "There's a comprehensive list of things we have to do together. Each depends on the other. The economy rests on the certainty we can create with aboriginal people. The health care system rests on the strength of the economy."

Dharm Makwana reports for Vancouver 24 Hours.

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