OTTAWA – In 2012, the Harper government removed environmental protections from 99% of Canadian lakes and rivers. This summer, Caribou Legs, an ultramarathoner Gwich’in from the Yukon, is running from Vancouver to Ottawa to draw attention to the fact that our waterways are now vulnerable to mining, fracking, energy exploration and industrial pollution.
Caribou Legs left Vancouver on June 1st and has run 50-75 kilometres a day and is now heading towards Calgary.
“Our waterways need protection from Stephen Harper’s government and from big oil, gas and mining companies eager to sacrifice them for profit,” explains Caribou Legs. “I have a voice, I have legs, and I’m committed to using them to make change.”
The run is supported by the Council of Canadians, as part of the larger #Pledge2Protect campaign which calls for Members of Parliament to reinstate protections for all lakes and rivers under the Navigation Protection Act.
“Caribou Legs is an inspiration. We need people like him who are willing to go the distance to raise awareness of the vulnerability of our lakes and rivers,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “The Navigable Waters Protection Act was Canada’s oldest piece of legislation, ensuring that our waters were for everyone since 1882. Now, they are being prioritized for industry. We are still experiencing the fallout of the omnibudget bills, but it will be our children and grandchildren who will see the real impact. I urge MPs to not only reinstate but strengthen our environmental legislation. The future of our lakes and rivers depends on it.”
Caribou Legs, born Brad Firth, spent 20 years in Vancouver, mostly homeless, often addicted. But Firth, whose aunts were cross-country skiers Shirley and Sharon Firth, among the first Aboriginal athletes to represent Canada at the Olympics, found relief and a purpose in running. “Running is my way of life. I have an obligation to serve running to my people to let them know that it is possible to transform oneself from addiction, and even that it is possible to transform the world around you.”
Caribou Legs is scheduled to arrive in Calgary by Friday, June 26.
Meet Caribou Legs! Learn about his journey!
Saturday, June 27, 1-3 pm
Eau Claire Park, 200 Barclay Parade SW