‘Life means life’
Rally demands government intervene in transfer of child killer
OTTAWA — About a hundred people crowded the steps in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill Friday chanting “Send her back” and “Life means life,” in the hopes of convincing the federal government to transfer convicted murderer Terri-lynne Mcclintic out of an Indigenous healing lodge and back to a maximum security prison.
Rodney Stafford, one of the organizers of the rally, is the father of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, the Woodstock girl whom Mcclintic lured to her grisly death nearly ten years ago. He told reporters Friday he’s heard nothing from the government about whether they intend to reverse Mcclintic’s transfer and put her back in prison.
“I haven’t received any information regarding anything. I know as much as the general public does,” he said.
The rally also is planned in Woodstock on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the Woodstock courthouse. Organizers are asking that people wear purple -- Tori’s favourite colour --to show unity and support.
In 2010, Mcclintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, though the full evidence of her violent character surfaced only during the 2011 murder trial of Michael Rafferty, with whom she assaulted and killed Stafford.
At Rafferty’s trial, the jury heard evidence about Mcclintic’s violent fantasies and desire to kill, maim and torture others. In 2012, Mcclintic pleaded guilty to assaulting a fellow inmate, and in a ltter to a friend intercepted by correctional officers Mcclintic described the assault, saying if she’d had more space she would have done more damage.
However, the London Free Press revealed earlier this fall that Mcclintic had been transferred to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in Saskatchewan, a facility prima- rily for Indigenous female offenders, which offers more independent living and nicer quarters than a prison.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has insisted he cannot personally intervene in the matter, but last month ordered the commissioner of the correctional service to conduct a review of the case, which is ongoing.
Conservative justice critic Tony Clement and a number of the party’s other MPS attended the the rally, echoing the crowd’s chants and urging that Mcclintic be returned to a maximum security prison.
“In what world does a feminist prime minister stand against an eight-year-old girl and the justice she deserves?” asked Conservative MP Rachael Harder. “Today her killer is sitting in a facility where she is being treated close to royalty.”
The rally opened with a rendition of O Canada and, as the speakers addressed the crowd, people signed a Canadian flag that read “Justice 4 Tori.”
Rodney Stafford said he’d hoped for a bigger turnout Friday but that the cold, rainy day in Ottawa and the fact that it was a Friday morning, when most people are working, were most likely to blame.
Among those in the crowd was Susan Gerth of Brantford, whose daughter, Desiree Gallagher, died after plunging from a seventh-floor balcony in London, Ont.
Gallagher had been at the apartment of Justin Primmer, who was later charged with assault causing bodily harm after police seized a cellphone containing photographs of Gallagher’s badly beaten face. The cause of the fall was never determined, and Primmer pleaded guilty to assault and was given a six-month sentence.
But after a slew of further violent crimes, Primmer was designated a violent offender last year.
Gerth said she says she’s not opposed to healing lodges or day parole in general, but that some violent offenders simply shouldn’t qualify.
“The victim’s family and friends have to live with that,” Gerth said.
Gail Kelly, who accompanied Gerth to the rally, said many vio- lent offenders like Mcclintic are skilled manipulators who know how to abuse the system.
“They know how to push the buttons,” Kelly said.
“They know how to say what they need to say.”
A rally on Parliament Hill on was aimed at getting the federal government to transfer convicted murderer Terri-lynne Mcclintic back to a maximum security prison.
About 100 people attended a Justice for Tori Stafford rally on Parliament Hill on Friday.