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