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Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls Olympics BC's 'golden moment'

While protesters gathered on the lawn of the British Columbia legislature, Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave a speech focused on the province's “golden moment.”

“The 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have been an unparalleled organizational and logistical undertaking,” Harper said. Adding, in what will surely be a surprise to people in Montreal, “They will be simply the most ambitious sporting event ever held on Canadian soil.”

He spoke about how B.C. has grown since joining confederation in 1871. “It is not hard to predict that, in some distant year, when British Columbians reflect upon these games you will see them as an affirmation of what you have achieved and as your point of departure into a new and exciting era.”

The games will, however, be Canada's, he said, adding all Canadians “Will be glued to their television sets, not just cheering for our athletes but feeling with them, every step of the way.”

He closed, “This truly is British Columbia's golden moment. And it is also Canada's time to shine.”

Premier Gordon Campbell, who spoke after Harper, unfurled a Canadian flag and led the house in a cheer of “Go, Canada, go!”

Harper did not take questions from reporters and left quickly following his speech. With so much going on already the decision was made not to “overburden” reporters, his press secretary said.

It was the first time a Prime Minister has addressed the B.C. legislature. Members of parliament present included Stockwell Day, Gary Lunn, Jay Hill, John Duncan, James Lunney and Andrew Saxton. There was heavy security in place for the speech.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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