Mr. Maurice Harquail (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of State for Urban Affairs):
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Fraser) has been very busy. He has two questions tonight, one dealing with imported shoes and the other with import quotas.
Let me deal with imported shoes first. In response to this allegation I wish to state that the figure of 11 million pairs is inaccurate. The correct figure is 7.5 million pairs. In 1976 imports amounted to 40 million pairs of leather and vinyl footwear, an increase of 46 per cent over 1975. Government action has limited such imports to 32.5 million pairs, a cutback of 7.5 million pairs or a reduction of less than 19 per cent. While 1977 data are not available, it appears that imports will reach the 1976 level. This cutback of 7.5 million pairs represents 16 per cent of the 1976 Canadian production of 45.8 million pairs. Therefore, the replacement of 7.5 million pairs of imports would require not the alleged 50 per cent increase in domestic output but 16 per cent, which I am confident the Canadian industry is capable of producing.
To turn now to the textile question, under the Export and Import Permits Act, transfer of an import permit is prohibited as well as the transfer of quota allocated as a condition to the issuance of such a permit. In several instances the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce has been asked to authorize the transfer of quota from one company to another as a result of the business changing hands or of a change in the structure of a particular business. All such requests for transfer of quota have been refused by officials in the department.
The department has also been apprised of several instances where possibilities of buying or selling import quotas were offered in newspapers. All cases brought to the attention of the departmental officials have been investigated. To date the results of two of these investigations have been received. It has been established that certain people were using the words "Quota for sale" or "Quota wanted" when they were in fact referring to goods already imported under the authority of an import permit issued under the Export and Import Permits Act after a valid quota had been obtained. The reason for using the word "quota" is simply that those goods had been imported as a result of allocation of quota. So far, none of the investigations have established that quota were in fact being bought and sold in Canada.
Perhaps I could make one last point with respect to imported shoes. Imports of 32.5 million pairs of leather and vinyl footwear permitted by the cabinet decision are considerably higher than imports in any year except 1976 and 1977. If to this we add approximately 15 million pairs of rubber, canvas and other types of footwear exempted from the quota, plus the capabilities of the Canadian footwear manufacturing industry, I am confident that retailers and consumers will have a very wide selection in terms of price, fashion, quality and function.
Subtopic: TRADE-TEXTILES-PURCHASE AND SALE OF IMPORT QUOTAS