Kelowna man walking across Canada carrying cross for veterans, Indigenous communities | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna man walking across Canada carrying cross for veterans, Indigenous communities

Warren Parke, from Kelowna, is carrying a cross across Canada to raise awareness for veterans and Indigenous communities without clean drinking water.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Warren Parke
January 29, 2021 - 6:00 AM

A Kelowna man has walked thousands of kilometres carrying a nine-foot cross across along the Trans-Canada Highway to raise awareness for veterans and First Nations communities without clean water.

Warren Parke, from Kelowna, started carrying the cross across Canada after working on a First Nations reserve and was unable to drink the water there.

Back in 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also told veterans that they were asking for more than the federal government could afford, which also struck a chord with Parke.

READ MORE: Trudeau under fire for saying some vets want more than government can afford

The 60-pound cross bears the words “veterans are not asking for more than than I can give,” which he said he has carried across the country but doesn’t yet know what he will do with it once he reaches Ottawa.

He’s added wheels to the cross, which he’s been carrying from B.C. since roughly Dec. 17. Parke said he’s been walking for roughly seven to nine hours a day along Highway 1, and has a support team around him as he makes the journey with an injured foot and dislocated shoulder.

As of Jan. 27, he was in Thunder Bay and expects to reach Ottawa in the next few weeks.

“It’s a statement. There are 91 First Nations reserves without clean, drinkable water. This is Canada, why is this an issue?” Parke said.

As of January 2018, the federal government committed to ending 91 long-term drinking water advisories on public systems south of the 60th parallel, according to a David Suzuki Foundation report.

“If the powers to be that are supposed to have our best interest at heart don’t, then... it becomes our responsibility to do it ourselves,” he said.

His initial goal was to march across Canada anonymously, but had to use his name since Facebook won’t allow it, he said.

Parke hopes to complete his mission, raise awareness for the issues and “go back home to my kids,” he said.

Parke posts live updates on his Facebook page, and as gathered a social media following there, known as The Old Man. He also has a GoFundMe page which can be found here.

- This story was updated Jan. 30, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. to include a link to Parke's GoFundMe.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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