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Kellie Leitch says women should be allowed pepper spray to defend themselves

The Conservative leadership hopeful says women should "not be forced by the law to be victims of violence."

Conservative leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch has called for a change to the Criminal Code that would allow Canadians to carry sensory irritants like bear spray for self-defence.

The Canadian Press/File

Conservative leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch has called for a change to the Criminal Code that would allow Canadians to carry sensory irritants like bear spray for self-defence.

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is calling for Canadians to have the right to bear-spray arms.

Leitch, who has staked her candidacy on a platform of “Canadian values,” announced her intentions in a Facebook post Wednesday morning.

“As prime minister, I will amend the Criminal Code to make it legal for Canadians to possess mace and pepper spray for self-defence purposes,” the Ontario MP wrote, adding that the measure is needed for women to fend off potential physical and sexual violence.

“Women should not be forced by the law to be victims of violence when there exist non-lethal means by which they can protect themselves.”

An additional statement from Leitch’s office clarified that self-defence is the only use of spray irritants she would make legal and that other purposes would be “prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.”

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According to the self-reported General Social Survey on Victimization conducted in 2004, there were about 512,000 incidents of sexual assault in Canada with only a scant 24,200 reported to police.

The Ontario MP’s social media presence has ramped up in recent weeks after she reacted Donald Trump’s election victory by saying the president-elect had an “exciting message” for Canadians.

Critics swiftly seized on her remarks, prompting Leitch to later tell a CTV interviewer that “I am not a racist.”

However, her platform does share a focus on immigration that helped propel Trump to victory in the U.S.

Among the policies she has called for are a face-to-face “values test” that would screen potential immigrants for their opinions on a range of human rights issues. Leitch has also been harshly critical of the federal government's Syrian refugee settlement program, which she calls a "disaster."

She has also called for the complete dismantlement of the CBC and has come out firmly against pricing carbon.

There has also a culture war flavour to her posts that pit "elites" and "media" against other Canadians, including one instance where she pointed out a 14-follower Twitter account with a default egg avatar and no visible tweets that allegedly insulted her supporters.

Last month, Leitch claimed that her home was the target of an attempted break-in, however police who responded to her call could not locate an intruder.