Article from the Monday, Feb 13, edition of the MTL Gazette
Edmonton- Two years after passing a law allowing police to seize cars from men trying to buy sex on the street, Alberta is now ready to enforce it.
Transportation Minister Lyle Oberg says the government will proclaim the long-awaited law this spring, bringing some relief to business owners and neighbourhoods infected with prostitution.
''A neighbour was just telling me last night how she's had people having sex in her backyard or in the alley, and another family has had the same thing,'' said karen Mykietka, a mother of two young children who lives in north Edmonton.
''That's just a horrendous thing to have to deal with, especially when you have kids.''
Mykietka hopes the threat of losing their cars will at least shorten the line of johns who regularly circle her neighbourhood looking for prostitutes.
Those who lose their cars under the law will have a chance to get it back by going to ''john school'' to learn about the harm caused by prostitution.
The cars willl be impounded for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.
''They're going to have to pay for the storage, they're going to have to take the course and then they will receive their car back,'' Oberg said in an interview.
''If they choose not to take the course, obviously the vehicle will go up for sale.''
Oberg said he expects an initial outcry from violators, but he's hoping the seizures send a message to other johns that ultimately results in less street prostitution.
''I believe the word will fly very quickly about what's going on.''
Solicitor-General Harvey Cenaiko introduced the legislation as a private member's bill before he became a cabinet minister. But it's taken two years to draft the regulations needed to put it into effect.
Cenaiko said prostitution is destroying the quality of life in some areas of Edmonton and Calgary, where residents routinely find their property littered with used condoms and syringes.