The Alberta government plans to prosecute people who solicit prostitutes despite a Supreme Court ruling that struck down parts of the law.
Kim Armstrong, the deputy attorney general of Alberta, issued a directive to Crown prosecutors on Tuesday after hearing that police officers were not laying charges because they didn't believe the cases would be prosecuted.
“The existing law will largely be followed,” said Alberta Attorney General Jonathan Denis.
The Supreme Court of Canada struck down parts of the law in December and has given the federal government one year to rewrite it. In the meantime, the old law remains in force.
Denis wants to get the message out that there is still a penalty for breaking the law.
“I think it would be a mistake to just let this lapse and to operate in a legal vacuum,” Denis said.
“I'm quite concerned that you'd see common bawdy houses showing in residential neighbourhoods or even sex tourism starting in Alberta and that's not something that I want in this province.”
But some people believe there's little that Denis can do.
Former Edmonton vice detective Jo-Ann McCartney now works to get prostitutes off the streets. She says cases can take a year to get to court and by then, the law won’t exist any more.
“They can say they're gonna charge them, but I think the charges are gonna go nowhere.”
Like Denis, she is concerned about sex tourism becoming a factor in Alberta. She thinks that pimps from the United States will bring prostitutes to Alberta when the weather warms up.