THE EMPTY CHAIR

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - SPORTS -

Hi Fel­low Se­niors: Thanks­giv­ing is the time of year that fam­i­lies come to­gether. The chat­ter be­tween fam­ily mem­bers is non-stop as they ‘catch up’ on all the fam­ily news. There are wed­dings, births and ex­pected births, hol­i­days and fam­ily pets to be dis­cussed In­vi­ta­tions ex­tended for Christ­mas and hol­i­days and the ex­pec­ta­tions of con­tin­ued fam­ily gath­er­ings.

How­ever, there is one home that has an EMPTY CHAIR that used to be filled by 10 year old Tori Stafford. (July 15, 2000 – April 6, 2009). Not quite 10 years old, she was abused and ul­ti­mately suf­fered an un­timely death. Her cap­tors, Terri-Lynne McClin­tic and Janes Rafferty, were fi­nally caught and were sen­tenced to years of im­pris­on­ment. That should have been the fi­nal chap­ter in this hor­rific crime but that is not the case.

Justin Trudeau stood in the House of Com­mons last week and said he would not de­nounce the spe­cial treat­ment given to Ter­riLynne McClin­tic. This was in re­sponse to a Con­ser­va­tive mo­tion de­nounc­ing McClin­tic’s move from a se­cure prison fa­cil­ity to a healing lodge, with no fence and chil­dren present. How­ever, when the time came to vote, Mr. Trudeau bailed. He didn’t stay for the vote so that no record is made of his act of be­trayal to a lit­tle girl. He did de­nounce the Con­ser­va­tives of be­ing ‘am­bu­lance chasers’ by fo­cus­ing on this story, While the Con­ser­va­tives view McClinic’s trans­fer as a moral out­rage that puts the pub­lic at risk, Trudeau views it as one of trust­ing the pub­lic ser­vice.

Mr Stafford is­sued the fol­low­ing state­ment:

“I in fact met Mr. Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau on Wed­nes­day of this week. On a chance meet­ing on Par­lia­ment Hill, Justin Trudeau heard I was in town for the day and had re­quested a sit down with me if I would like. Dur­ing what was dubbed a “fa­ther to fa­ther” con­ver­sa­tion, Mr. Prime Min­is­ter of­fered his sup­port and con­do­lences to me my fam­ily. I needed to take these last cou­ple days to clear my head to make sure I was think­ing clearly. Thank You for your time Mr. Trudeau. Please make our coun­try proud and COR­RECT THIS IN­JUS­TICE.

Thank you goes out to the con­ser­va­tive party for your fast ac­tion in help­ing me get to the fed­eral govern­ment in our quest for jus­tice and change. Please con­tinue your fight with us in re­vers­ing this out­ra­geous trans­fer and in sup­port­ing that our laws need to change. Thank you ev­ery­one for your con­tin­ued sup­port.”

MY LAST WORD – There are many par­ents who have lost chil­dren due to ill­ness or ac­ci­dent of one kind or an­other and the trauma of this ex­pe­ri­ence never goes away.

What hap­pened to Tori Stafford was un­for­give­able and her fam­ily will never re­cover from this tragic, tragic event. In this Coun­try cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment has been abol­ished but this case makes one won­der?

As vot­ers, we have the last say in whether or not we sup­port Trudeau’s lack of com­pas­sion in this mat­ter. Now is the time to con­tact your M.P. and show your sup­port of a lit­tle girl who left this world far too soon. You can be her voice and make sure she is heard in the Halls of Jus­tice. We don’t want any more EMPTY CHAIRS!

Dorothy Wil­son is a free­lance writer spe­cial­iz­ing in se­nior’s is­sues. Com­ments are wel­come by e-mail­ing or writ­ing c/o St.Thomas Times-Jour­nal, 16 Hincks Street, St.Thomas, On.

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