At the police station the arrestees would be booked and offered a piece of paper called an “undertaking”. The undertaking informs the protesters that they will be allowed to leave the police station without going to jail if they promise to appear at a certain time to talk to a judge, and if they promise not to return to the scene of the conflict, or go anywhere around the scene of protest. The protesters will probably sign, however reluctantly, and leave. They have homes, jobs, children, schools that demand their attention. They cannot easily refuse to sign the undertaking. And Enbridge knows this. If everybody signs the undertaking the protest is effectively over. Enbridge will proceed with their work.
But if some of the protesters are so angry and disgusted with the Harper and Christy Clark governments, if they are so broken hearted over the destruction of nature’s bounty, and are so worried for their families’ futures, and their own, that they might say “To hell with this biased court system that only protects the 1% , I will sign nothing”, then the protest will take a different turn. The people who refuse to sign the undertaking will be kept in jail until they are taken before a judge and if they still refuse to sign the undertaking they will be taken back to jail. At this point, by any definition, they have officially become “political prisoners”.
Canada isn’t supposed to have political prisoners. Especially if some of the political prisoners are First Nations. Why, if this should occur, Harper and Christy Clark would have to listen to other countries asking about Canada’s “political prisoners”. Of course the major Western media networks, including the CBC, probably would probably downplay the entire thing if they reported it at all. But the word would spread, questions would be asked, alternate news outlets would pick up the story. And even China would have to think of some kind of spin.
China has money and interest in Enbridge and of course Kevin Falcon loves the way China carries out its public works programs. A couple of years ago when Kevin Falcon was asked about the blockade at Eagleridge Bluffs he said he really liked the way China did things. When they wanted to build a dam, they didn’t have to consult with the people, just their engineers. No problem. And that’s exactly how he and Christy Clark plan their “jobs creation” program, not just with the Enbridge pipe line, but also with gas fracking. They will just do it. And all our protest over the Enbridge pipe line will just be blowing in the wind unless some people start thinking about becoming “political prisoners”.
Is this concept too hard of a sell? Too much to ask? And no chance of succeeding this way? I would argue there is no chance of succeeding in stopping the pipe line any other way if the First Nations legal challenge fails. I have personally been battling the depletion of BC public forests for over twenty years, as have numerous large full time environmental organizations (NGO’s), and the old growth is all but gone and the second growth is being shipped out as logs. One person refusing to sign an undertaking is not enough. I was not taken seriously by the BC government, no matter how long I stayed I prison because I could be portrayed as a lone, weird little old lady who was probably senile.Becoming a political prisoner is not easy. But at this juncture in our country’s history nothing is going to be easy, especially for the young. And it isn’t just that the future of our country that is at stake…our world is at stake. The earth itself is at stake. We must love this earth and the life it fosters more than ourselves, more than anything, or we will lose it all. And I believe that when the bulldozers come and significant numbers of people join the protest against the pipe line and when protesters are arrested and taken to jail some might refuse to sign the undertaking and in the process will willingly become “political prisoners”. Then the world will rejoice. If this should happen, I believe that Canada would rally around political prisoners in a way it has never done before. If this happens I believe that Canada would come alive.