Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu is calling on the Trudeau Liberals to change the Criminal Code to allow Canadians to defend themselves with pepper spray.
In a letter to Attorney General David Lametti and federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, Madu stated that the rise in hate-motivated attacks factored into this request.
"I know we both agree that racist, hate, and bias motivated attacks cannot be tolerated," writes Madu: "I suggest consideration be given to allowing individuals, including vulnerable persons, to carry capsaicin spray, commonly known as pepper spray, for self-defence." Pepper spray is currently a prohibited weapon in Canada.
Madu highlights that someone who carries pepper spray currently could receive a longer sentence than the person who attacked them. "It is sadly ironic that a vulnerable person carrying pepper spray for self-defence could quite possibly receive a longer sentence than her attacker," he writes. Canada's self-defence laws have been subject to criticism, with some claiming that they unfairly protect the aggressors.
Madu said that Alberta and its neighbouring provinces have seen more drug-fueled attacks recently, where pepper spray could have be useful in scenarios where self-defence is unavoidable. He added that Jason Kenney's UCP government "wholeheartedly supports the notion of permitting Albertans, and indeed Canadians, to defend themselves in circumstances where they are in serious risk or imminent danger."
He concludes by stating his support for "vulnerable communities and persons," which he believes would benefit from having the means to effectively defend themselves, in addition "to the community safety measures we [the Alberta government] are undertaking."