Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"I think that... I... I mean..."

Mark Holland tries to shake his foot out of his mouth after hinting he'd like to see a new NEP-like environment strategy in the oil sands:



Reporter's Question in the foyer of the Commons:
And this was a discussion you had on a program on Monday, was it?

Mark Holland:
I can't recall the date.


Question:
OK. Because I know you've said that there's been a lot of twisting.

Mark Holland:
There's been an enormous amount of manipulation of this, including from the Premier of Alberta, and it's very... and it's very political. I mean, what they're trying to do is to get it so that no one can even talk about limiting the oil sands expansion. But look, if we're serious about climate change, then we're going to have to talk about the oil sands, and we're going to have to talk about all large final(?) emitters. And the reality is unfettered growth in the oil sands, unfettered growth of any large industry, is unacceptable. And let's also take a look at what Albertans are saying. They don't have the infrastructure. They have labour shortages. They're concerned about water quality.
They're concerned about environmental degradation. And if there's a five-time increase in the oil sands expansion, just imagine where those issues are. So Albertans themselves are concerned about this, and we all have a responsibility to manage and utilize our resources responsibly.

Question:
Hang on. Unfettered access. So that means...

Mark Holland:
Unfettered growth.

Question:
Yeah. So that means you believe in fettered growth. Is that right?

Mark Holland:
No, I think that... I... I mean...

Question:
You want to limit the growth in the oil sands?

Mark Holland:
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 grow... caps in terms of the degree of emissions that can be pumped into the atmosphere. And that multiplying the oil sands times 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. And that all large final emitters have a responsibility to ensure that the emissions that they are putting out there do not destroy our ability to reduce emissions.

Question:
Do you want to cap growth in the oil sands?

Mark Holland:
No, what we're doing right now is we have the... the... the Natural Resources Committee making a series of recommendations on how to deal with the oil sands specifically, and we have C-30 to deal with the... the issue more broadly of... of how to regulate emissions for large final emitters. What I would like to see is for large final emitters, and for the oil sands, recommendations to be brought forward
concurrently. 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, in fact would put us in a position where we would se by 2010 no ability to really reduce greenhouse gases. And what we have to ask is that it's incredibly disingenuous of the Prime Minister, on the one hand, to say that he cares about climate change, and on the other hand to talk about expanding the oil sands by five times when we know if he does that it makes it absolutely impossible, even by 2020, to have any reductions of any kind.

Question:
Mark (inaudible) five times expansion of the auto industry in Ontario?

Mark Holland:
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. Look, every industry in Canada, I don't care where it is or what it's doing, has a responsibility to ensure that their growth is appropriate, it's managed, and that we don't have emissions pouring out from those industries
that are going to blast apart our ability to meet our international commitments.

Question:
Do you think that growth in the oil sands is inappropriate?

Mark Holland:
I think that... 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. Clearly...

Question:
(Inaudible) any growth in the oil sands is going to increase the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

Mark Holland:
Right.

Question:
So what do you want to do then?

Mark Holland:
Well, I think that what we need to do is to have targets. And we have targets under Kyoto, but we need to have targets beyond 2012. And we need to ensure that we have... we have an appropriate level of greenhouse gas emissions that are... are deemed to be acceptable for all industry, to say that you can't go past this point. Because if you do, then our targets are absolutely obliterated. Now, what those are
and how we exactly implement them is the source of what we're dealing with in committee right now. But I think that there is a growing recognition among Canadians that simply being able to dump into the atmosphere whatever greenhouse gas emissions you want to is unacceptable, just as it's unacceptable to dump your garbage on the street.

Question:
How popular do you think this position will make you in Alberta?

Mark Holland:
I think the position will be very popular because I think that Albertans want to make sure that their resource is managed appropriately. I'm hearing from a lot of Albertans who are very concerned about water quality, who are concerned about lack of infrastructure, who are concerned about environmental degradation, and... and concerned about the rate at which that resource is utilized, wanting to make sure that it's there for a long time. So there's a lot of Albertans who share these concerns, and I think that they're asking the question of why. Why would anybody talk about multiplying this by five times, or 4.6 times?
And they recognize as well that all industries, whether or not it's in Ontario in the auto sector, or whether or not it's in Alberta in the oil sands, that every industry has a responsibility to ensure that their greenhouse gas emissions do not obliterate our international commitments on climate change.

Question:
Can you spell out what you mean by consequences now? You said (inaudible) would be consequences.

Mark Holland:
Well, I think that... I think that if there's a refusal by any large industry to... to work with us, we're going to have to take a look at that. And that's what our committee is doing now, in terms of saying what we would establish as... as mechanisms to ensure - whether or not that's a cap in trade system, where if you go over you have to... you have to buy credits somewhere else, or whether or not that's some other mechanism, I don't know. I trust that right now the process we're working on in our Natural Resources Committee will be a fruitful one and that we'll have concrete recommendations in the next few weeks on that.

Question:
Your comments made a lot of people out west nervous. Are you willing to say now that you did or did not mean nationalizing the oil industry?

Mark Holland:
I absolutely didn't mean that, and that's a complete... 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... 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... are... are crass and political.

Question:
Have you had any discussions with the McGuinty government, who are opposing tough regulations on the auto industry, about... about going through with that?

Mark Holland:
No, I haven't at this point. OK?

2 comments:

nomdeblog said...

Good hardball questions. Who was the reporter who retores my faith in the MSM?

Ottawa Watch said...

I don't know. I was home sick today.
I suspect it's someone from Calgary.