His response to the question "will did you mean you nationalize oil companies?" he said this:
"I absolutely didn't mean that, and that's a complete twist and perversion of what I said. What I said was that everybody has to be part of the solution here. And I'm talking about industry in Ontario, I'm talking about industry in Quebec, I'm talking about industry in Alberta, that we all need to be part of the solution and work collaboratively. And any attempts to mischaracterize that is crass and political."
Contrast that to his previous response to that question: "If they refuse to work with us....there will be consequences."
How excitingly vague. Just vague enough not to mean anything, just clear enough for people to ask questions.
He goes on in his most recent interview to say "...the reality is unfettered growth in the oil sands, unfettered growth of any large industry, is unacceptable."
So the reporter asks him do you want to limit growth in the oil sands only to receive this response:
"No, what I think we need to do is to take, as we've said with all large final emitters, that we need to have caps. And the Prime Minister himself has talked about this, and there hasn't been an outrageous reaction to that. That there has to be caps in terms of the degree of emissions that can be pumped into the atmosphere. And that multiplying the oil sands 4.6 times, the Finance Minister said in China, or as Gary Lunn has said, the Minister of Natural Resources, four to five times expansion, by 2015, would blast apart all of our greenhouse gas emissions."
Then logically, he must believe in caps in emissions, and by extrapolation caps in the growth of the oil sands. But he said "no" to limiting growth. How can he be for both? Only the tooth fairy knows.
So then the next fair question to ask, which was fairly done by the reporter, is do you believe in caps on the oil sands?
" No, what we're doing right now is we have the Natural Resources Committee making a series of recommendations on how to deal with the oil sands... But certainly me taking a formal position in advance of that committee having the opportunity to put forward its proposals would be premature. What I am saying is that five times expansion of the oil sands is inappropriate and would blast apart all of our emissions targets..."
So I guess what he's saying is "No", followed by "I have no formal position until the committee makes up it's mind", followed by "the oil sands are growing too fast."
Oh but it gets more confusing. The next question is whether the auto industry should be capped:
"Absolutely. I would say the same thing of the five times expansion of just about any industry, unless they were going to be willing to put technologies in place to control their emissions."
So he believes in caps only if companies put in technologies to control their emissions. And he explicitly mentions a "five times expansion of just about any industry" which further implies the oil sands.
Ok. So what do we know for sure? The only thing he hasn't contradicted so far is that he believes in emission caps for companies that refuse to implement new technologies that control their emissions. Which first of all assumes that such technologies exist in the first place, that are efficient enough to really give any results. Ignoring that though, it insinuates that the MP is confused because he believes a cap in emissions doesn't mean a cap in growth. I think that's a serious mistaken opinion far too many have conceded to.
The oil sands is the OIL sands. They make money on selling oil. Oil produces emissions. An emissions cap effectively is a growth cap.
But what further adds confusion is his insistence on mentioning the need to make sure that growth in the oil sands is "managed" and that 5 times growth is too fast. So again, if it's too fast, logic would seem to indicate that you would then want to limit it.
And just to add to the confusion the reporter asks him if he believes "growth" in the oil sands is inappropriate:
"I think that growth in the oil sands that would result in greenhouse gas emissions that would negate our ability to meet our international commitments is not acceptable."
So it's not acceptable, he doesn't believe in limiting it, but he does believe in limiting it indirectly, but that's not a formal opinion until the committee makes up it's mind.
Disclaimer: Many a Tory talks the same way. And I find myself unable to deal or comprehend them either. The unfortunate fact is though that I hear this talk a great deal more from Liberals than I do from Conservatives. Hopefully that'll never change. And to be fair, those dippers out there don't tend to talk this way much either. I guess it's a matter of fighting for principles in public office, not fighting for power.