Lib­er­als side with crim­i­nals over vic­tims

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Opinion - BY MP RACHAEL HARDER South­ern Al­berta News­pa­pers

They stood, one by one, and used their par­lia­men­tary priv­i­lege to vote against jus­tice for Tori Stafford.

On Wednesday my Con­ser­va­tive col­leagues and I put for­ward a mo­tion call­ing on the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment to re­turn Tori Stafford’s killer back be­hind bars. Given that Terri-Lynne McClin­tic was convicted of first-de­gree mur­der in the hor­rific ab­duc­tion, rape and mur­der of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, it stands to rea­son that she should be in a se­cure fa­cil­ity rather than a heal­ing lodge where “marked bound­aries” are used rather than fences, and where in­mates are united with their fam­i­lies, thus re­sult­ing in chil­dren liv­ing on the premise.

This is no place for McClin­tic. We’re talk­ing about a young woman who part­nered with her boyfriend to com­mit one of the most heinous crimes imag­in­able.

Tori was eight years old when she was greeted by McClin­tic and in­vited to look at a puppy in the car. Tori was forced into the ve­hi­cle, driven to a re­mote lo­ca­tion, re­peat­edly raped, tor­tured and mur­dered. Her body was put into a garbage bag and left in the woods, only to be found three months later.

McClin­tic was convicted of first-de­gree mur­der and sen­tenced to 25 years with­out pa­role. Dur­ing her time in pri­son she has re­peat­edly en­gaged in vi­o­lent be­hav­iour to­ward oth­ers and re­cently bragged about stomp­ing on the face of a fel­low in­mate.

Cana­di­ans are out­raged and they have ev­ery right to be. Dur­ing the course of our de­bate in the House of Com­mons, Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale de­fended the de­ci­sion to move McClin­tic to a heal­ing lodge, call­ing it the best way “to rec­tify her >bad prac­tices >in the past.”

Why is the min­is­ter call­ing the mur­der of an eight-year-old girl “bad prac­tices”? We’re talk­ing about pre-med­i­tated mur­der.

When given the op­por­tu­nity to do the right thing, Justin Trudeau and his cau­cus chose to side with the killer in­stead of the fam­ily of the vic­tim. Ev­ery Lib­eral MP in the House fol­lowed Trudeau’s lead and voted to keep McClin­tic in a fence­less heal­ing lodge liv­ing along­side chil­dren.

But this isn’t the only in­stance where the Lib­er­als have cho­sen to side with the per­pe­tra­tor over the vic­tim. Cana­di­ans are led by a gov­ern­ment that con­tin­u­ally chooses to de­fend crim­i­nals at the ex­pense of those who have suf­fered unimag­in­able loss and pain.

In Septem­ber 2015 Chris Garnier bru­tally as­saulted and mur­dered Cather­ine Camp­bell, dump­ing her body un­der a Nova Sco­tia bridge. He was convicted of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der and in­ter­fer­ing with a dead body.

This sum­mer, it came to light that Garnier is col­lect­ing vet­er­ans ben­e­fits to pay for a pri­vate psy­chol­o­gist who is tasked with treat­ing the PTSD he de­vel­oped while mur­der­ing Ms. Camp­bell. Though Garnier’s father served in the mil­i­tary, Garnier him­self never has and is beyond the age of de­pen­dence.

On Sept. 25, Con­ser­va­tives put for­ward a mo­tion call­ing on the Min­is­ter of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs to re­voke the ben­e­fits that have been ex­tended to Chris Garnier. Ev­ery sin­gle mem­ber of the gov­ern­ment voted against our mo­tion.

While the prime min­is­ter is telling vet­er­ans they are “ask­ing for more than we are able to give right now,” he is happy to ex­tend their ben­e­fits to a man who has never served in uni­form and who bru­tally as­saulted and killed a fe­male po­lice of­fi­cer.

Con­ser­va­tives be­lieve the safety of Cana­di­ans should be the num­ber-one pri­or­ity of any gov­ern­ment. The rights of vic­tims must al­ways come first.

When de­fend­ing their de­ci­sions in cases like these, the Lib­er­als con­tinue to spout rhetoric of for­give­ness and com­pas­sion. But it isn’t com­pas­sion­ate to favour crim­i­nals and ig­nore their vic­tims.

While the Lib­er­als are wor­ried about de­fend­ing Christo­pher Garnier and Ter­riLynne McClin­tic, where is their com­pas­sion for Cather­ine Camp­bell’s fam­ily? Where is their com­pas­sion for Tori Stafford’s par­ents?

Rachael Harder is the Con­ser­va­tive MP for Leth­bridge. Her col­umn ap­pears monthly in the Leth­bridge Her­ald

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