As Tori Stafford’s father protested on Parliament Hill, a small group of supporters in Saskatchewan held a rally in the cold rain in Maple Creek, not far from where the girl’s killer now lives.
Terri-Lynne McClintic received a life sentence for the 2009 murder of the 8-year-old Woodstock, Ontario girl. She was quietly transferred to the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge near Maple Creek in December 2017 without the knowledge of Tori’s father Rodney Stafford or the people of Nekaneet First Nation.
On Friday, Stafford and his supporters called for McClintic to be moved back to prison.
“It just breaks our hearts that little Tori isn’t being stood up for and we want to stand up for her,” said Penny Steinkey, one of the organizers of the Maple Creek protest.
Steinkey doesn’t believe McClintic is psychologically ready for rehabilitation after serving about one third of her life sentence.
She said McClintic doesn’t deserve to be at the healing lodge and is taking up a valuable spot for other women that want to be in there.
“These women work hard to get here and how she got here the way she did, we honestly don’t know because it doesn’t make sense,” Steinkey said.
Steinkey suggested maybe one day, near the end of McClintic’s 25-year life sentence, she will have made enough progress to benefit from the healing lodge but added now is not the time. She doesn’t want McClintic to take up that spot for another 16 years before the possibility of reintegrating into society.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Friday that he received a report from the Corrections commissioner on McClintic’s transfer and is reviewing the results.
Steinkey holds little faith in the federal government’s review of McClintic’s transfer but said she hopes and prays for changes to be made by Corrections Canada.
She spoke highly of the healing lodge and it’s success but was critical of the increased power by Corrections Canada, leaving local elders with no say in who would be allowed to be transferred there.
“They’re making this into a jail, not a healing lodge.”