Tori rally takes to Par­lia­ment Hill

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART THOM­SON

OT­TAWA — About 100 peo­ple crowded the steps of the Peace Tower on Par­lia­ment Hill Fri­day chant­ing “Send her back” and “Life means life,” hop­ing to con­vince 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, a rally or­ga­nizer, is the fa­ther of eight-yearold Tori Stafford, the Wood­stock girl whom McClin­tic lured to her grisly death nearly 10 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 know as much as the gen­eral pub­lic does,” he said.

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 let­ter 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 Free Press re­vealed this fall that McClin­tic had been trans­ferred to the Oki­maw Ohci Heal­ing Lodge in Saskatchewan, a fa­cil­ity pri­mar­ily for Indige­nous fe­male of­fend­ers, which of­fers more in­de­pen­dent liv­ing and nicer quar­ters than a prison.

Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale has in­sisted he can­not in­ter­vene per­son­ally 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 his party’s other MPs joined 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 MP Rachael Harder (C-Leth­bridge). “Her killer is … 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, but said a cold, wet Fri­day morn­ing, when most peo­ple were work­ing, was likely to blame.

In the crowd was Susan Gerth, whose daugh­ter, De­siree Gal­lagher, died af­ter plung­ing from a sev­en­th­floor bal­cony in Lon­don.

Gal­lagher had been at the apart­ment of Justin Prim­mer, who was later charged with as­sault caus­ing bod­ily harm af­ter po­lice seized a cell­phone con­tain­ing pho­tos of Gal­lagher’s badly beaten face. 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’s not op­posed to heal­ing lodges or day pa­role in gen­eral, but some vi­o­lent of­fend­ers sim­ply shouldn’t qual­ify.

“The vic­tim’s fam­ily and friends have to live with that,” Gerth said.

TONY CALD­WELL/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Signs are held at the Jus­tice for Tori Stafford Protest for Change on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ot­tawa on Fri­day.

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