Politics

Singh says Rideau Hall incident would have ended differently if suspect was person of colour

Corey Hurren, 46, was charged with 22 criminal charges on Friday, a day after he allegedly drove a truck onto the official residence grounds and set out on foot toward the prime minister's home.

NDP Leader called incident 'domestic terrorism'

During a news conference on Wednesday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh raised the issue of system racism in Canadian policing. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he believes last week's incident at Rideau Hall — in which a Canadian Armed Forces member allegedly breached the grounds while carrying several firearms — would have ended differently if the suspect had been a person of colour.

Corey Hurren, 46, was charged with 22 criminal charges on Friday, a day after he allegedly drove a truck onto the official residence grounds and set out on foot toward the prime minister's home.

The charges against Hurren includes several firearms-related offences. He is also accused of uttering a threat or conveying a threat to "cause death or bodily harm" to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to court documents.

Corey Hurren has been identified as the Canadian Armed Forces member from Bowsman, Man., who was arrested in Ottawa last week after police say he gained access to the grounds at Rideau Hall. (GrindHouse Fine Foods/Facebook)

During a press conference on Wednesday Singh called the incident an example of "domestic terrorism" and said it is also a reminder of "how systemic racism is real."

"This person showed up with weapons, publicly, at the residence of the prime minister of Canada and was arrested without being killed," Singh said.

Allegedly rammed truck through gate

Hurren was apprehended without incident roughly two hours after he allegedly rammed his truck through a gate on the Rideau Hall grounds, according to the RCMP.

Singh drew comparisons to Ejaz Choudry, a 62-year-old man who was fatally shot by police during a mental health crisis in his apartment in Mississauga, Ont.

Singh said the contrast between the two incidents is "what systemic racism in policing is all about."

Choudry's death is currently being investigated by Ontario's police watchdog.

Green Party MP and former leader Elizabeth May echoed Singh's sentiments earlier in the day, drawing comparisons to the deaths of Choudry, Rodney Levi, Chantel Moore, D'Andre Campbell and Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who all died during interactions with police.

"They were all killed during so-called wellness checks and they were all either Indigenous, Black or people of colour," May said, while Hurren was arrested peacefully during what she called "a criminal act with intention to kill."

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was also asked about the Rideau Hall incident during his own press conference. He said was deeply concerned for Trudeau and his family but added that he wouldn't speculate on the suspect's motives while the RCMP are investigating.

"Any kind of threat against an individual at any level of government is completely unacceptable and needs to be dealt with very, very seriously," Scheer said.

Singh criticizes lack of action on systemic racism

While Singh said he was glad that the prime minister and his family were not harmed during the incident at Rideau Hall, he did not mince words on what he says is a lack of action from Trudeau on systemic racism in policing.

"[Trudeau] has done less to address police brutality and violence than even [U.S. President Donald] Trump has done. That is shameful," Singh said.

"What President Trump has done is still insufficient but he at least put forward some rules, some changes around the use of chokeholds," Singh said, referencing an executive order that Trump signed in June.

Trudeau has voiced his support for body cameras in the RCMP, but Singh said he wants to see more concrete action, such as reviewing use of force policies and shifting funding from policing to health care.

Just hours after Singh's comments, Trudeau announced that cabinet would be examining policies and reforms to address systemic racism in Canada.

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