The 48-year-old former Canadian Ranger was ordered to get a job, undergo counselling and take his prescribed medication. Day parole was granted for six months. His application for full parole was denied.
“It is the Board’s opinion that you will not present an undue risk to society if released on day parole and that your release will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration as a law-abiding citizen,” the board wrote in its Nov. 16 ruling.
The Office of the Prime Minister declined to comment.
Fueled by COVID-19 conspiracy theories and anger over gun laws, Hurren drove his pickup truck from Manitoba and rammed the pedestrian gates at Rideau Hall early on the morning of July 2, 2020.
Armed with two shotguns and a semi-automatic rifle, he then abandoned his vehicle and went looking for the prime minister in what a judge called a “politically motivated armed assault intended to intimidate Canada’s elected government.”
On March 10, 2021, Hurren was sentenced to six years for eight offences. At the time, an Ontario judge said he was unremorseful, had not renounced his conspiracy theories and posed “an ongoing risk.”
But just 20 months later, he has already been granted day parole. The decision said Hurren identified as Métis and as an Indigenous offender his loss of culture was a required factor in the parole decision.
“Intergenerational effects and other systemic factors have affected Indigenous people and may be linked to your specific criminal behaviours,” the parole board wrote in its nine-page ruling. A partly-redacted copy was obtained by Global News.
The decision was made over the objections of the Correctional Service of Canada, which argued Hurren had shown “limited insight and remorse,” and had not learned to cope with the stresses he would face upon release.
The CSC had also wanted the board to impose an internet ban on Hurren, to distance him from conspiracy theories, but parole officials refused to do so, ruling that would be “very onerous given how much our society relies on the internet.”
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“The Board is required to make the least restrictive determinations that are consistent with the protection of society and the Board does not see a sufficient connection between your internet access and offending that would make such a condition reasonable and necessary,” the decision read.
The government’s Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre has categorized the incident as a “violent action” of ideologically motivated violent extremism involving uniformed personnel.
After breaching the Thomas gate at Rideau Hall, Hurren abandon his pickup and continued on foot with three firearms, hoping to interrupt the prime minister while he was giving a press briefing.
A handwritten note Hurren left in his truck explained that he was “afraid for the future of Canada and that it is now under a communist dictatorship.” It also referenced “the firearms ban” and “bankrupting the county.”
Hurren was quickly confronted by RCMP officers and during a 90-minute armed stand-off, told police he was angry about firearms and COVID-19 restrictions and wanted to arrest Trudeau.
A search of his phone turned up materials on COVID-19 conspiracy theories that falsely claimed the COVID-19 pandemic was planned and the prime minister’s response “amounted to communism,” according to his sentencing decision.
An expert report found Hurren had no psychotic disorders, nor any indications of substance abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder, but said he was depressed. He was suffering financial troubles after losing his job and his sausage business failed.
He had decided to drive to Ottawa after receiving phone calls about the repossession of his truck.
He pleaded guilty on Feb. 5, 2021 and was sentenced to five years – on top of one year he was credited for due to the time he spent in custody awaiting trial.
While the sentencing decision acknowledged Hurren was depressed, the judge said he was motivated by his political views and conspiracy theories that he had yet to acknowledge as false.
The judge also said there was no sign Hurren accepted the “wrongfulness of taking armed action to express his political views. I have not heard any acknowledgment from Mr. Hurren that he recognizes that what he did was wrong.”
However, the Parole Board ruling said Hurren had “made gains” during his time in prison, and had started to address his mental health and emotional issues, partly with medication.
“Though your parole officer is of the view that you have not expressed remorse for your offending, you were clear with the Board that you believe that what you did was wrong,” according to the decision.
“You said it was a bad decision and you are sorry for the damage you caused.”
The National Capital Commission, which manages the buildings and grounds at Rideau Hall, filed suit against Hurren in June for $350,000, according to the Ontario Superior Court.
The statement of claims alleged the property was “extensively damaged and needed significant repairs,” including to the front gates, and asked for an additional $100,000 in punitive damages.