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Dad furious PM rapped over transfer of girls killer to healing lodge

first_imgThe father of a raped and murdered eight-year-old girl said on Wednesday the transfer of one of her killers to a prison “healing lodge” has sparked widespread anger and needs to be reversed, while the federal government said it would review the decision.In an interview from his home in Woodstock, Ont., Rodney Stafford denounced the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic as “completely wrong.”“She should be serving her sentence in a maximum security prison,” Stafford said of his daughter’s killer. “Like I’m sitting here living day to day, going to work, having to struggle to get by because my life has been altered so bad — I’m still on this huge emotional roller-coaster — and like frickin’ she’s out living it up…in this healing lodge.”McClintic pleaded guilty in 2010 to the first-degree murder of Victoria (Tori) Stafford, who was last seen in April 2008 being led away by the hand after school. McClintic, then 18, had promised to show the trusting girl a puppy. Waiting nearby was McClintic’s boyfriend, Michael Rafferty, who drove his victim to a remote field where he raped her repeatedly.Court would later hear how McClintic, who confessed a month later, had ignored Tori’s pleas for help. Ultimately, the girl would die from hammer blows to her head.In 2014, McClintic was classified as a medium security inmate at the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, Ont. In December, two days after the transfer, victims services wrote the family to inform them of McClintic’s move to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge on the Nekaneet First Nation near Maple Creek, Sask.While it’s not clear whether McClintic identifies as Indigenous, Correctional Service Canada, which refuses to discuss the transfer for privacy reasons, says the 60-bed lodge is a multi-level standalone open campus facility with a focus on healing for incarcerated Aboriginal women.“She’s basically living it up better than the majority of the people living on the streets or are low income families,” Stafford, 43, said. “She’s being handed all these free passes and luxuries. It’s not fair.”Word of the transfer prompted plans for a protest rally in Ottawa in November and both federal and provincial politicians jumped on the issue.Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford called Stafford to offer his support, while Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced the review of the transfer decision and said ministers by law do not get involved in inmate security classifications.Conservative justice critic Tony Clement accused the Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of being soft on crime and called the transfer a miscarriage of justice that has revictimized the families.“This is not the kind of justice that Canadians expect (and) I’m demanding redress,” Clement said. “When people lose faith in our justice system, they take matters into their own hands.”In the House of Commons, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer called on Trudeau to have the decision reversed, saying McClintic was guilty of “horrific crimes” and had bragged about stomping on the face of a fellow inmate at Grand Valley.Trudeau pointed out that McClintic’s security status hasn’t changed since 2014 and that officials make such decisions independently. He also noted that Goodale had asked the commissioner of correctional services for a review.An exasperated Scheer emerged from question period Wednesday demanding that Trudeau act.“I will tell you one thing I know about this facility: it is not the right place for McClintic,” he said. “She deserves to be behind bars … this is completely inappropriate.”From her home near Edmonton, Tori’s grandmother Doreen Graichen, a believer in the death penalty, said the family was furious at finding out what happened to McClintic.“It looks as if she’s on some kind of retreat or something rather than being in prison,” Graichen, 64, said in an interview. “We were told life means life, but who knows, 25 years from now with the system going the way it is, who’s to say she wouldn’t walk?”Cara Voisin, of Otterville, Ont., who is helping Stafford organize a protest on Parliament Hill on Nov. 2, said it wasn’t just about Tori.“It’s about other children, too. It’s about making sure that other people aren’t being revictimized,” Voisin, 33, said. “It’s really sad to see this all has to be dug up again.”Voisin said she wants to see the resurrection of Bill C-53, legislation tabled by the previous Conservative government that never made it into law. The bill was dubbed “life means life.”“People relate to this, Voisin said. “They want a safe world for their children. They want to know that when somebody’s convicted of the worst crimes out there, that they have to serve the sentence that was given to them.”Sue Delanoy, executive director of the prisoner activist Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan, said corrections are not meant to be purely punitive and the lodges, with their focus on self-improvement and introspection, are not an easier path for inmates.“It sounds like a get-out-of-jail-free thing,” Delanoy said. “Healing lodges aren’t that. The perception is wrong from the community.”In a statement, Chief Alvin Francis of the Nekaneet First Nation, home to the correctional facility, expressed surprise at the transfer.“At one time, Nekaneet elders sat on the interview process and had influence on inmate intake, but the funding was cut approximately six years ago, and we no longer have input on who is transferred to the healing lodge,” Francis said. “We have no say on inmate selection, but I believe if our elders were still a part of the process maybe Ms. McClintic wouldn’t be (there).”last_img read more

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First Nation leaders of Turtle Island issue open letter call on Harper

first_imgAPTN National News OTTAWA–A group of First Nations chiefs have issued an open letter urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to agree to the treaty meeting demanded by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence who is on day 23 of a hunger strike.The letter, signed by the “First Nation leaders of Turtle Island,” asks Harper to work with the First Nations leader to end Spence’s hunger strike and meet with the leadership to reaffirm “the spirit and intent of our treaty relationship and based on the principles of honour, peace, friendship and Indigenous sovereignty.”The letter, released shortly after midnight Wednesday, also mentions the planned Jan. 16 national day of action that could see country-wide economic disruptions through rail and highway blockades among other planned events.“Work with us to end the hunger strike of Chief Theresa Spence. We fear for her health. We do not only speak for our conscience and the pain we feel for her, but we implore you for her children. For the love of humanity, we make this plea,” said the letter. “We firmly support a national day of action scheduled for January 16, 2013. We also realize that our people and supporters for the liberation of Indigenous peoples in this country continue daily assertions of peaceful demonstrations.”Concern is mounting about Spence’s health and the Attawapiskat chief is said to be getting weaker by the hour.“From this day forward make no miscalculation- as First Nation leaders in this country, we will increase our efforts to speak, teach, and reconfirm the truth about the Indigenous People of this country. In fact, the rest of the world is now closely observing,” said the letter. “We support Chief Spence as she implores cooperative efforts of your government towards real and dignified change for First Nations. The rest of the world awaits your response as well.”The letter comes following a series of meetings and teleconferences between about 70 chiefs over the past few days.In a statement accompanying the letter sent to APTN National News, said the recent meetings were called in haste because of Spence’s situation and the tensions between the Idle No More movement and the existing First Nations leadership.“The reality is this, we are behind the eight-ball and needed to respond to our fellow chief who is on a hunger strike,” said the statement. “We also had to dispel the myth that we are trying to take over a movement that we are in fact a part of and have always supported.”The letter states that Canada is facing “a time of renewal” and that “Indigenous leaders in this country must make clear that this land is not the personal possession of a political party or a government.”It calls on Canadians to find common cause with First Nations people.“First Nations or Canadians should not tolerate trade treaties, race-based legislation and colonial policies designed to assimilate and strip away the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island any further,” said the letter. “We must focus on change for our people, returning to the spirit and intent of the original treaties in Canada, not new deals with other countries to be granted legal land tenure for the sole purpose of their economic gain.”The letter states that First Nations leaders would continue to take their message around the world, including to the Queen, U.S. President Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.The letter calls on Harper to uphold the honour of the Crown which is bound up in the treaties and refers to the prime minister’s holiday address in which he highlights the “joy of giving” and helping the less fortunate.“Prime Minister, Canada requires leadership that will address these matters in a manner that seeks constructive dialogue and collaborative efforts to change,” said the letter. “We call on your congruent response; a response that upholds the professed values of Canada and a response that is consistent with the honour of the Crown and the sacred covenant of treaties in Canada.”The LetterDownload (PDF, Unknown)last_img read more

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