Wood­stock coun­cil­lor de­mands ac­tion on McClin­tic trans­fer

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - LOCAL NEWS - CHRIS FUNSTON

A Wood­stock coun­cil­lor plans to in­tro­duce a mo­tion at city coun­cil voic­ing the com­mu­nity’s dis­gust over the trans­fer of Terri-Lynne McClin­tic to a heal­ing lodge in Saskatchewan.

And if Wood­stock coun­cil ap­proves the res­o­lu­tion next week, it will be cir­cu­lated to other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in On­tario and Canada.

“I’m sure there isn’t one per­son in our com­mu­nity that wants to re­call the tragedy that took place in April 2009 and es­pe­cially to a lovely in­no­cent lit­tle eight-year-old girl. The con­stant pain that her loved ones en­dure ev­ery day de­serves sup­port from us,” San­dra Tal­bot said.

Af­ter read­ing a state­ment from Bill Ren­ton, the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor on the case and cur­rent Wood­stock po­lice chief, Tal­bot said she re­al­ized how much the pain from the tragic ab­duc­tion and mur­der still lingers.

“Tori be­came our com­mu­nity’s daugh­ter,” Ren­ton wrote in his state­ment. “The na­ture and ex­tent of the crime against her touched ev­ery­one in­volved. We share in the hopes, fears and frus­tra­tions of our fel­low res­i­dents at times like this.”

Tal­bot’s anger boiled over af­ter a mo­tion to re­verse McClin­tic’s trans­fer was de­feated by a vote of 200 to 82 in the House of Com­mons. Tal­bot said she was par­tic­u­larly in­censed when Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau re­ferred to the Con­ser­va­tives, who in­tro­duced the mo­tion, as “am­bu­lance chasers.”

“It pushed me over the edge,” Tal­bot said. “I’ve made the de­ci­sion to bring for­ward a mo­tion to sup­port that Terri-Lynne McClin­tic be re­turned to a reg­u­lar fa­cil­ity and not a priv­i­leged pro­gram that she is now cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.”

Eight-year-old Tori was raped, beaten and mur­dered on April 8, 2009, af­ter be­ing ab­ducted in Wood­stock while walk­ing home from school. She’d been lured by McClin­tic, with the prom­ise of see­ing a puppy, into the car of her boyfriend Michael Rafferty. Her body, aban­doned in garbage bags, was found three months af­ter she went miss­ing in a ru­ral area near Mount For­est.

McClin­tic, sen­tenced to life in prison with no chance of pa­role for 25 years af­ter plead­ing guilty in 2010, was ini­tially housed at the max­i­mum-se­cu­rity Grand Val­ley In­sti­tu­tion for Women in Kitch­ener. She was trans­ferred to that fa­cil­ity’s medium-se­cu­rity wing in 2014 af­ter her re­clas­si­fi­ca­tion by Cor­rec­tion Ser­vices Canada.

In 2017, McClin­tic was moved to the Oki­maw Ohci Heal­ing Lodge for Abo­rig­i­nal Women in south­ern Saskatchewan.

First re­ported last month by Post­media News, the move an­gered Tori’s fa­ther Rod­ney Stafford and sparked de­bate at Queen’s Park and the House of Com­mons.

Tal­bot’s hope is that Wood­stock coun­cil will sup­port the mo­tion at its Oct. 18 meet­ing and then share it with other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in On­tario and across Canada.

She is also ask­ing for the com­mu­nity to mount an email and let­ter cam­paign to con­vince Trudeau that jus­tice is the only thing be­ing sought for Tori and her fam­ily.

“There’s not a lot we can do to as­sist or to re­pair what has been done. Be­cause it hap­pened here, I think our com­mu­nity has to take a stand and stand up and protest this hor­ri­ble act that’s oc­curred. At least to give some peace to the fam­ily and to the com­mu­nity,” Tal­bot said.

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