Lukiwski Decries Prison Transfer

 Terri-Lynne McClintic and Tori Stafford

Terri-Lynne McClintic and Tori Stafford

Robert Thomas

Over the last week a big issue on many Canadians' minds was the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic to an Indigenous healing lodge near Maple Creek.

McClintic was sentenced to life imprisonment for her part in the brutal rape and murder of eight year Tori Stafford. The elementary school student, Tori, was walking alone from school for the first time when McClintic, who knew Tori as a family friend, lured the young girl on a promise to see a puppy. The real reason though was because McClintic's boyfriend, Michael Rafferty, fantasized about sex with a child.

After Tori was lured she was repeatedly raped by Rafferty, then killed with a claw hammer and finally buried in a shallow grave. The details were so graphic a juror in the case later received compensation as a victim of crime for developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Many Canadians around the country were upset and outraged when McClintic was transferred from a medium security prison to an indigenous healing lodge. Many of those who are upset are Indigenous residents who want McClintic's transfer reversed

To find out what is being done about their concerns we emailed questions to our MP from Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan, Tom Lukiwski, for a response. Here are the questions and answers.

 Tom Lukiwski, MP for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan, opposes the decision to transfer McClintic to an indigenous healing lodge

Tom Lukiwski, MP for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan, opposes the decision to transfer McClintic to an indigenous healing lodge

What is your reaction to hearing the news?

“Like most Canadians, I was shocked when I heard that this transfer had happened. Dangerous child killers belong behind bars.”

What do you think can be done about it?

“What can be done is simple – Minister Goodale needs to immediately intervene in this case to make sure that Tori Stafford’s killer is back behind bars. They claim that he cannot intervene, but that is not the case. In the past, Minister MacAulay stopped the transfer of a cop killer after public outrage. Minister Toews ended prison pizza parties. And Minister Day mandated that first degree murderers had to spend a specific time behind bars in maximum security prison.

What are you going to do about it?

“As for what we are doing, the Conservative Party is putting forward a motion tomorrow (Tuesday) calling on the Government to reverse this move. I hope that Liberal MP’s will vote in favour of this motion.”

What sort of message do you think this sends to the family of this child? What sort of message at what has occurred here do you think this sends out to other families who are victims of crimes?

“This transfer is just another example of the Liberals putting the rights of dangerous criminals ahead of the rights of victims and their families. That is the message that the Government is sending to criminals.”

We combined the two following questions as we felt they were addressed in the answers given. If we are wrong we will correct it.

1. Do you think changes should be me made as to who can go to a healthy lodge? If so should it be based upon the crime they committed or the stage they are in their sentence?

2. Should funding or the ability for elders of the local First Nation be restored when it comes to selecting participants at the healing lodge near Maple Creek considering they and their families work with the convicted women there?

“There are two categories of healing lodges. Some are operated entirely by Correctional Services Canada (CSC), and some are called Section 81 Healing Lodges which are funded by CSC but operated by the local First Nation group.”

(The one in Saskatchewan where McClintic is being held is operated by CSC)

As this is a very graphic crime what are your feelings about reading out the details in the House of Commons? Is it appropriate to re-release these details into the public; could it be seen as insensitive to the family of the victim?

“You ask about the reading of the details of this murder in the House of Commons. The fact is that the horrific details are difficult to hear and that’s what makes this issue all the more appalling.”

Some people say the Conservative Party is taking advantage of this incident for political reasons. What would your response be to this?

“As for the Conservative Party using this for political reasons, I totally disagree with this statement. This issue has angered people across the country, rightly so. It is an issue that the Government is able to rectify, and that they need to answer for.”

In response to the public outcry Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has ordered a review of the transfer. A memo containing a legal opinion that Goodale cannot reverse the transfer was reported by Global News.

Tori’s father, Rodney Stafford, has said McClintic's transfer has revictimized him and he has pleaded with Prime Minister Trudeau to intervene. He and family members plan a protest rally on Parliament Hill on November 2nd.