Terri-Lynne McClintic belongs 'back in her cell,' Tori Stafford's dad says at rally

The father of a murdered Woodstock, Ont., girl whose killer was transferred to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan led a rally in Ottawa on Friday, calling for tougher sentences for convicted killers.

McClintic has been serving her sentence at a healing lodge in Saskatchewan

Rodney Stafford's daughter was murdered by Terri-Lynne McClintic and Michael Rafferty. He says McClintic belongs in a cell, not at a healing lodge. (CBC)

The father of a murdered Woodstock, Ont., girl whose killer was transferred to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan led a rally in Ottawa, calling for tougher sentences for convicted killers.

"I could sit at home and not say anything about it and let everybody live their lives, but I want to try and make a difference in my daughter's name, because she can't speak for herself, and it's not right by any means," Rodney Stafford said on Parliament Hill on Friday.

Stafford's daughter, eight-year-old Tori, was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered in 2009 by Terri-Lynne McClintic and Michael Rafferty. 

McClintic is serving a life sentence for the crime but was transferred to an Indigenous healing lodge on the Nekaneet First Nation near Maple Creek, Sask. 

While Stafford was in Ottawa, others were protesting in Maple Creek, calling for McClintic to be transferred back to a prison. The crowd at the Ottawa rally wore purple ribbons, Tori's favourite colour. 

Tori Stafford, 8, was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered in 2009 by McClintic and Rafferty.

"Back in her cell. A little cell where she belongs," Stafford said. "Max security and no privileges. Just live her life as she is supposed to — that the courts ruled down on her."

There's also a rally planned for Woodstock on Saturday. 

'This is not justice'

Outside Parliament Hill, Conservative justice critic MP Tony Clement said he wants McClintic back behind bars as soon as possible. 

"The policy that allowed this to happen has to be changed. Certainly, somebody who is a child killer, in the first half of her sentence, should not be transferred to a facility that has no razor wire and has no cell blocks," Clement said. 
Conservative justice critic Tony Clement says McClintic belongs behind bars, not at an Indigenous healing lodge. (CBC)

The federal government has already asked officials to review the transfer. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he received the report Thursday night and will now review it before making any decisions. 

Goodale came under fire during question period from Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs, who said it's taking too long for the government to act on what many Canadians see as an "outrage." 

"We all want this system to be as good as it can possibly be for the protection of the public," Goodale responded.

But Clement said the review will only focus on the policy for future transfers, and the results won't affect McClintic. 

"It will not impact on where McClintic, the child killer, finds herself. That is not acceptable. That is not justice," he said. 

"Yes, we have rehabilitation in our society, but we also have justice. That's the thing that Mr. Trudeau doesn't understand, that it's got to be a combination of the two, not just one." 

'Too lenient'

Supporters at the Ottawa rally said they were affected by Tori's story. 

"I'm here because we are being too lenient on criminals, especially criminals like these two. McClintic needs to go back to doing hard time, not a healing lodge," said Andrea Pounder, who travelled from London, Ont. 

"McClintic knew right from wrong, and she chose wrong. Somebody has to make this right." 

Stafford said he's not only fighting to get justice for his daughter but also for other victims. 

"If these changes do come it could potentially stop anybody else from having to go through what I'm going through right now," he said.

He said the families of the victims of serial killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer, also from Woodstock, raised concerns because she's in a psychiatric hospital, not a maximum security prison.

Inside the House of Commons Friday, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould told reporters she wants the justice system to respect victims. 

"It's incredibly important to ensure that the voices of victims are heard, the rights of the accused are respected, and we have a criminal justice system that upholds the laws of the country and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," she said.