It's one thing for Northern Gateway to try to convince the National Energy Board of the value of its proposed pipeline, but another story entirely for the company to convince the general population its plan is worthwhile.
With support for the $6.5 billion plan to connect Alberta's oil sands with Asian markets via a pipeline to Kitimat lagging the polls - particularly in B.C. - and with the provincial government skeptical of the benefits for this province, the company has a lot of work to do.
Northern Gateway president John Carruthers said it's up to the company to show those against the project why it should be built.
"I think the benefits of the projects are overwhelming," he said. "I think it's critical for Canada to have an alternate source for its largest export. I think people generally understand that and agree that there's a need to have a second market for your largest market."
Critics have pointed to the environmental risks the project poses in the event of a spill and Carruthers admitted the company still has a way to go to assuage those concerns. The company also hasn't yet proven the plan is of financial benefit to those along the proposed route.
"I think then there's questions about how those benefits are distributed," he said. "Very legitimate questions, ones that need to be addressed in terms of benefits for regional people, for Aboriginal people. I don't think there's any debate about the benefit for Canada, those are overwhelming."
Pipeline opponents are planning to hold events next week around the province to show their unity against the plan. A sit-in is planned Monday in Victoria and Wednesday those against the pipeline in Prince George are gathering at the Civic Centre.
Carruthers said the company has to listen to those concerns.
"Canada has a process where people can voice their concerns in many ways, that would be through this process through the National Energy Board, the Canadian environmental assessment joint review process, another one would be through protest," he said.
The company has launched a public relations campaign, but Carruthers hopes the formal environmental review currently underway will also convince those on the fence that they should support the project.
"Ultimately you would hope people would be convinced the same as the Joint Review Panel," he said.