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Alberta justice minister Madu moves to allow pepper spray for self-defense

Kaycee Madu wrote to the federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness “to express my profound concerns about recent crimes that appear to be motivated by hate and racism,” seeking changes to the Criminal Code to move against hate-motivated crimes.

“I know we both agree that racist, hate, and bias-motivated violence and crime cannot be tolerated.”

Under the Criminal Code, pepper spray is considered a prohibited weapon; Madu is seeking an alteration whereby individuals can carry pepper spray for self-defence. “It is sadly ironic that a vulnerable person carrying pepper spray for self-defence would quite possibly receive a longer sentence than her attacker.”

Madu also seeks “strong mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of a racist, hate, and bias-motivated assault.” He cited an incident where an Edmonton man was sentenced to seven months for three separate race-motivated assaults, but only spent 35 days in custody.

“This is clearly unacceptable, and demonstrates a pattern of leniency in our criminal system when it comes to hate-motivated crime sentencing.”

Madu outlined a few initiatives he's seeking to implement:

  • Launching the Alberta Security Infrastructure Program to provide grants for security and technology at at-risk religious and multicultural communities

  • Working on establishing a community liaison on hate crimes to provide the province with a wide range of perspectives on how to address racist, hate, and bias-motivated crimes

  • Setting up a new Hate Crimes Coordination Unit to improve hate crime prevention and mitigation

The letter to Minister Blair can be read and its entirety below.

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