Chilliwack was a stop on cross-country run for water protection

Caribou Legs is running across Canada to focus attention on the 'urgent need for protection' of Canadian Lakes and Waterways

Aboriginal runner Caribou Legs in Chilliwack.

Aboriginal runner Caribou Legs in Chilliwack.

Aboriginal runner Caribou Legs was expected to arrive in Chilliwack late Monday night after launching his epic run earlier that day from Vancouver.

It didn’t happen, but some local supporters were able to meet him at the Sto:lo Resource Centre on Thursday morning as headed out of town to Hope.

Caribou Legs, an ultra marathon runner, from the Gwich’in Nation in NWT, is crossing Canada on foot to draw attention to the thousands of Canadian lakes and rivers threatened by the absence of legislative protection.

Chilliwack’s chapter of the Council of Canadians was ready to greet the runner with a potluck dinner, but his arrival was delayed.

“We’re impressed with his tenacity,” said Wendy Major, spokesperson for the Chilliwack chapter of CoC. “We are cheering him on, sending our best wishes for a safe and strong run with support along the way. We strongly encourage the government to enact better protection of our lakes and water.”

The cross-country run is meant to “focus attention on the urgent need for protection of Canadian Lakes and Waterways,” according to a release.

Under the banner of a hashtag #Pledge2Protect, they’re calling on MPs to restore previous levels of environmental protection, stripped by the Harper government from federal legislation.

“I’m running to help protect our waterways in Canada. They need protection from Stephen Harper’s government and from big oil, gas and mining companies eager to sacrifice them for profit,” said Caribou Legs in a news release. “I have a voice, I have legs, and I’m committed to using them to make change.”

He took off from Vancouver on June 1 from the Vancouver Art Gallery and will end the 4800km run in Ottawa. Local supporters met at the Sto:lo Nation site on Monday night waiting for Caribou Legs, in the hope of getting a chance to offer their best wishes.

The federal omnibus bill of 2012 brought in sweeping changes, removing key safeguards, like removing environmental assessments, and protection for lakes and rivers, and gutting the Fisheries Act.

The Council of Canadians is sponsoring Caribou Legs on the run that includes stops in: Chilliwack, Hope, Kamloops, Lake Louise, Banff, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Ottawa. See Canadians.org/runningwater for the route and updates.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno