Corrections Canada Transfer of child murder Terri-Lynne McClintic

Thanks to the investigative reporting of the London Free Press, we learned of the inconceivable and insensitive decision by Correctional Service of Canada officials to allow convicted murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic to be transferred to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for female offenders. McClintic pleaded guilty to the kidnapping, rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford in 2010.

While I believe that the Healing Lodge system may provide for more successful community re-integration of First Nations offenders, it is difficult to comprehend how McClintic would have met those standards, or merited such leniency at this point in her sentence for her crimes. I was disappointed by what seemed to be a lack of empathy the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety shown toward the Stafford family in addressing this situation. My heart goes out to the Stafford family for what they have been subjected to, seeing Tori’s murderer given these new privileges, better living conditions and lessened security.

Thankfully, Canadians, such as you, were able to bring pressure on the government to act and justice has now been served. Tori Stafford’s killer is finally back behind bars, where she belongs. As a result of the public outcry, Minister Goodale announced on November 7, that stricter transfer policies for Indigenous healing lodges for women would be introduced. Under the new policy, transfers will have to be authorized by Correctional Service Canada’s deputy commissioner for women, who will be required to ensure that Indigenous communities are engaged in transfer recommendations.

I am pleased to see these changes. It is imperative that we have confidence that the judicial and corrections system is serving our interests in seeing that justice is served through sentencing in relation to the seriousness of crimes and the circumstances of the crime, and that offenders who near the completion of their imprisonment are less likely to re-offend when released.