Alberta police can seize and auction off johns' cars
Last Updated: Monday, October 23, 2006 | 11:29 AM MT
Alberta police can now seize and auction off vehicles of men found guilty of trying to pick up prostitutes.
Changes to the Traffic Safety Act, which came into effect Monday, are being called a new weapon to fight prostitution by police.
Edmonton police Insp. Brian Nowlan is confident the threat of permanently losing a vehicle will work.
"Johns are going to run the risk of losing their vehicle," he said. "Not just having it seized and impounded temporarily."
Officers can seize a vehicle when the person has been charged with soliciting street prostitutes.
If the person is found guilty in court, they can only have their vehicle returned if they can prove financial hardship or if they agree to participate in alternative measures programs.
Otherwise, it will be auctioned off, with the money going to the province.
One alternative measures program is "john school" — a one-day session where johns hear from ex-prostitutes and learn how prostitution tears families and neighbourhoods apart.
Civil liberties group disapproves
Municipal politicians, community groups and prostitution activists have all come out in support of the new law.
However, Alberta Civil Liberties Association President Stephen Jenuth said the change gives too much power to police.
"It's a matter that tends to be a random application of the law depending not on a fair hearing, but on the feelings of a particular police officer on a particular day," he said.
Move follows other prairie provinces
Manitoba began seizing cars in 1999 and Saskatchewan followed in 2002.
Manitoba has seized 418 autos; Saskatchewan, 400. Most of them were eventually returned.
Dianna Bussey, director of Salvation Army Corrections in Winnipeg, said having to explain the missing vehicle seemed to galvanize men's attitudes and led to some signing up for the course within hours.
"It brought home the seriousness of it," said Bussey, who counsels prostitutes and leads johns through the course.
Bill Thibodeau, who counsels prostitutes in Saskatoon, said the new law has made a dent.
"It has slowed down some of the john traffic. Has it eliminated it? No," said Thibodeau, the executive director of EGADZ Youth Centre.
He says some men now appear to be going instead to escort services or arranging trysts outside the stroll area.With files from the Canadian Press
Latest Edmonton News Headlines
- Violent Edmonton arsonist sentenced to 15 years
- An Edmonton man pleaded guilty to hitting a woman with toilet tank lid, setting her apartment on fire and dragging a second woman behind his car, before being sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday. more »
- Trudeau raises environmental questions over pipeline
- Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says a proposed west-east pipeline project will not go forward unless it addresses key environmental concerns. more »
- Rain, snow in K-Country prompts rescue of school campers
- A group of wet and cold school kids and their adult supervisors from Edmonton had to be rescued from Kananaskis Country on Wednesday night. more »
- Strathcona County fire held, but wind poses concern
- A wildfire in Strathcona County is now considered to be held. more »
Top News Headlines
- How was the Mike Duffy report 'whitewashed?'
- Opposition parties pushed the government on Thursday to answer questions about the "whitewashed" Duffy report while the RCMP is also seeking more information from the Senate as part of its review of questionable expenses. more »
- 2nd suspect in Tim Bosma murder case to plead not guilty
- The lawyer for Mark Smich says the Oakville, Ont., resident will plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, the Hamilton man who disappeared earlier this month after taking two men on a test drive of his truck. more »
- SNC-Lavalin letter says Gadhafi son offered VP post: RCMP
- SNC-Lavalin's ties to Libya's former dictatorship ran so deep the company offered the son of Moammar Gadhafi a six-figure job as a vice president in 2008, according to a newly unsealed RCMP affidavit. more »
- Canada Post campaigns against 'no flyers' mailbox signs
- Canada Post has been mailing more than 900,000 letters across the country to people to try to convince them to remove "no flyer" signs from their mailboxes. more »
- Smudge, the Hotel Macdonald's friendliest greeter
- Lindale fire doubles in size within hours
- Hostage taking at Edmonton courthouse sends prisoner to hospital
- Photocopier bill could topple Edmonton charity
- Postal workers strike in Fort McMurray
- Edmonton driver, 62, charged in boy's patio death
- Wait time and primary care reforms stalled
- Liam, Emma, most popular names for Alberta babies
- Driver too drunk to stand, says mom of toddler killed on patio