Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline has no chance in British Columbia if Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has her way.
May was in Kelowna Saturday to speak to more than 300 people at the First United Church.
"Has Enbridge made a case? No they haven't. They have failed miserably in even putting together the evidence," she said.
May was joined by filmmaker Damien Gillis, NDP opposition environment critic Rob Fleming and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip in arguing the case against the proposed pipeline at The People's Summit.
Organized by the Council of Canadians' Kelowna chapter, the event was created to educate people about the pipeline before the National Energy Board's hearing today in Kelowna.
If approved, the nearly 1,200-kilometre twin pipeline would carry about 525,000 barrels of petroleum per day from Alberta to the B.C. coast for shipment by tankers. The proposed pipeline has caused controversy because of its potential negative effects on B.C.'s environment.
"We're part of this big question that the planet faces - what kind of future do we want to have?" said Gillis. He said the pipeline would tarnish British Columbia's $14-billion tourism industry that prides itself on its natural beauty.
"It's contradictory. We can't be this and that and the new Saudi Arabia of the world," said Gillis.
May focused on environmental concerns surrounding the pipeline during her speech. She said Enbridge hasn't considered what would happen if there was a major spill.
"There is not one piece of evidence what the spill would do from a pipeline or a tanker in Enbridge's submission to the energy panel that deals with the product that they plan to move. They said what would happen if crude would spill, but not diluted bitumen which is a lot harder to clean up and does more damage." But according to Fleming, British Columbians have the power to stop the pipeline in the next provincial election. He said the equivalency agreement that the B.C. Liberals made with the federal government in 2010, which gives them the decision-making power for these projects, can be revoked.
"If you want to make the B.C. election in May a referendum on the Enbridge pipeline, be my guest. We can untie the hands of the province. If British Columbians don't stand up for our coastline, nobody will."
Major concerns about the pipeline have also been felt by First Nations communities.
"We, as people, realize the future of this planet depends on how we treat it," said Phillip.
With the pipeline protests and the Idle No More movement, Phillip said he feels the country has reached its tipping point.
"There is a reawakening happening in the entire planet - some might call it a tipping point and I am absolutely convinced we are going to prevail. Our voices will be heard."
The hearings are scheduled for the Sandman Hotel & Suites, 2130 Harvey Ave. today starting at 10 a.m and are closed to the public. If you want to hear the audio broadcast, you can at the Holiday Inn Express Kelowna Conference Centre 2429 Highway 97 North, starting at 10 a.m. Or on the panel's website: GatewayPanel.Review.gc.ca.