Published:July 23, 2021
The Alberta government’s push for people to be able to carry pepper spray as a self-defence tool has drawn the concern of provincial police chiefs.
Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu wrote to federal Justice Minister David Lametti and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair asking Albertans be able to use the spray in self-defence.
“I suggest consideration be given to allowing individuals, including vulnerable persons, to carry capsaicin spray, commonly known as ‘pepper spray,’ for self-defence,” Madu said in his letter.
“As you are aware, pepper spray is currently a prohibited weapon. It is sadly ironic that a vulnerable person carrying pepper spray for self-defence could quite possibly receive a longer sentence than her attacker.”
Madu cited an “increase of drug-fueled attacks” and an increase in hate-motivated crimes as a reason for the request.
But the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police is saying not so fast.
“The AACP is reaching out to Minister Madu to get some clarification around both aspects of his proposal,” it said in a tweet.
“While we wholeheartedly support a tough stance on hate-related crimes, we would like to find out more about the proposals and explore the benefits as well as any possible unintended consequences.”
The chiefs said more people carrying spray could lead to an increase in crime and a potential to be used against the more vulnerable members of society.
Madu tweeted he is looking forward to meeting with the chiefs.
“They have a valuable perspective when it comes to crime and hate-motivated assault prevention. At the end of the day we need to see our vulnerable Albertans safer, and I know they agree,” Madu said.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Madu is “absolutely right” to ask the feds.