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Is Premier Campbell running an Olympics campaign?

You’d be forgiven for thinking premier Gordon Campbell was in the midst of an election. Near-daily press alerts list one campaign-style event after the next.

This morning, he’s already cheered the Olympic torch at the Peace Arch border crossing and helped unveil a new Google-run website.

Last night, Campbell shared the stage with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and several Four Host First Nations reps for the grand opening of the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion. (The same pavilion that made national news last week when organizers were apparently asked by Olympics sponsor McDonald’s to take the word “burger” off their menu.)

“This is a moment of the heart,” Campbell told a packed room of supporters and journalists.

Native chiefs such as the Musqueam Nation's Ernie Campbell praised Olympics organizers and government partners. The premier praised back. All agreed the partnership between Canada’s indigenous peoples and the 2010 Games was “unprecedented” and a “new standard”.

It will indeed create an estimated $54 million in benefits and 2,000 native jobs. Though some native critics refer to it as clever government advertising.

In his seat, Campbell smoothed his hair under bright white glaring stage lights and took sips from a Dasani water-bottle, ostensibly provided by official Games sponsor Coke.

Much of the press last night was foreign, judging by the media sign-up sheet. One reporter asked his camera guy to point out the premier. “He’s the guy with the white hair, on the left there.”

Meanwhile, Campbell’s press secretary Bridgitte Anderson confided to an acquaintance she’d been up since 4am that morning.

Last Friday, Campbell attempted a back flip on the zip-line ride over Robson Square. “How was the feeling, prime minister, when you were flying like a Thunderbird through the city?” a German TV reporter asked.

“Thank you for that,” Campbell reportedly replied. He might as well bask in Olympics shine before the storm clouds of next month's provincial budget.

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

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