“In our country today, far too many women are victims of physical and sexual violence,” said Leitch, Member of Parliament for Simcoe-Grey.
She vowed to clarify the law surrounding the use of mace and pepper spray.
“The law should not force women to be victims of violence when non-lethal means exist for them to protect themselves,” Leitch said.
“Clarifying the laws around the use of mace and pepper spray for self-defence will give women a greater measure of protection against would-be attackers.”
A statement from her office said that this doesn’t mean the use of pepper spray will always be legal.
“For further clarity, the use of mace and pepper spray in any other circumstance will remain illegal with no changes to the current law,” the statement says. “Illegal usage will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.”
And earlier last month, Leitch said that her enthusiasm for American president elect Donald Trump doesn’t mean she’s a racist.
She called Trump’s election an “exciting message” that’s needed in Canada and that she proposes screening newcomers for Canadian values.
“I am not a person who’s out groping other individuals. I do not do those things and I don’t think that the Canadians who support the ideas I’m talking about do those types of things.”
Pepper spray is widely used by police departments and corrections officials to help subdue people.
It uses an oil known as oleoresin capsicum to make eyes tearful.
It’s banned for use in war by Article I. 5 of the Chemical Weapons Convention and can cause a burning of the throat, breathing difficulties, and in some cases, apnea and respiratory arrest. It can increase the danger of stroke or heart attack.
A 2003 American Department of Justice report concluded that pepper spray directly contributed to the deaths of 2 people out of 63 cases. Both of those cases involved people who had asthma.