Correction head OK with transfer of Tori Stafford’s killer to healing lodge

Issue was front and centre again on Parliament Hill with Conservative calls to reverse the transfer

The official charged with reviewing the controversial transfer of Tori Stafford’s killer from a medium security prison to an Indigenous healing lodge says she is comfortable with the decision to move Terri-Lynne McClintic.

Anne Kelly, who was appointed commissioner of Correctional Service of Canada in July, says the agency will perform an in-depth review of the file — as requested by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale — but noted the service has a “rigorous case management process.”

Kelly said she is looking for a member of the public to join two senior staff reviewing whether all processes were properly followed in McClintic’s transfer and whether changes are needed.

“At this point I’m comfortable with the decision, however, if through the review any adjustments need to be made, I will ensure that they are implemented,” Kelly told reporters Thursday.

She walked away as reporters tried to pose questions on how her personal views could affect the outcome of the case.

Her officer later clarified that Kelly believed the transfer does not pose an immediate risk to the safety and security of the public, staff or inmates.

The issue was front and centre again on Parliament Hill with Conservative calls for the Liberals to send immediately reverse the transfer. Goodale said he didn’t have the authority to do that, which is why he said he asked Kelly for a detailed review of “those policies and procedures to determine whether they need to be changed.”

READ MORE: Philpott defends Indigenous healing lodges amid controversy over Stafford killer

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer contends the government has the ability under section six of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to issue operational directives to the Kelly as commissioner — something the Liberals dispute.

In an interview, Scheer said he believes the prime minister’s decision not to intervene is tantamount to signing off on McClintic’s transfer to the healing lodge.

“Justin Trudeau has the ability to put Tori’s killer back behind bars,” Scheer told The Canadian Press.

“He has a variety of tools at his disposal and he needs to tell Canadians whether or not he’s going to do that. And if he’s not, he’s obviously OK with the decision.”

The Liberals argue the minister can only provide high-level direction to the commissioner about general operations or policies — not about individual cases.

“The act is very clear. The control of the system lies with the commissioner,” Goodale said.

Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott defended the use of Indigenous healing lodges as a way to provide restorative justice for Indigenous offenders — of which she says McClintic is one. She said healing lodges “have proven to provide restorative justice” and ”the security that’s necessary.”

The question period debate about the issue was not as heated as it was on Wednesday when Conservative MPs discussed graphic details of Stafford’s murder, which prompted Trudeau to demand more decorum and accuse the Tories of playing political games with the tragedy. Scheer said he found Trudeau’s response “a disgusting and shameful display of a prime minister trying to avoid responsibility.”

Scheer said he and his MPs felt it was necessary to remind everyone about the horrific details of the crime after Goodale referred to McClintic’s role in Tori’s murder as “bad practices” in a television interview earlier this week.

“When he’s got a minister sitting a few seats down from him glossing over these evil actions of a deranged individuals as ‘bad practices,’ then yeah, we’re absolutely going to put before him and his ministers what some of the details are,” Scheer said.

McClintic was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder of Victoria (Tori) Stafford. McClintic’s boyfriend, Michael Rafferty repeatedly raped her before the eight-year-old was ultimately killed with a claw hammer to the head.

The disturbing details have been widely reported, in part, to allow the public to bear witness to the tragedy and understand McClintic’s sentence, Scheer said.

“That was the purpose of recounting some of the details of the case, so that Canadians, and for Parliamentarians to know what they are defending… they have a responsibility to Canadians to explain why they think it’s OK.”

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Hawk Tail Brewery ready to open doors

New Rimbey business to begin operation

Basketball Battle of Ponoka set for two high schools

Perhaps the first time ever in league, the Ponoka Broncs play against the St. Augustine Kings & Queens

Motorist flees police near Ponoka, escapes on foot

While attempting a traffic stop police say the driver sped off before hitting the ditch

Ponoka residents to see rise in utility rates in 2019

Change to power transmission rider, sewer charges will see cost of living in Ponoka rise

Two overtime victories for the Ponoka Stampeders

Local junior squad resilient in pair of extra time contests this past week

Girl opens Christmas present she gave to boy when she dumped him in 1971

Adrian Pearce, now a married father of two, received the small present from his highschool sweetheart

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Alberta Finance Minister says equalization program not working

Equalization formula fails Alberta again, says UCP

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

Most Read