The federal Conservatives are poised to thrust the transfer of convicted child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic from prison to a healing lodge back into the spotlight just days ahead of a Parliament Hill protest planned by her victim’s family.
On Nov. 2, the family of Tori Stafford, who was murdered by McClintic at the age of eight in 2009, is set to arrive in Ottawa for a rally on Parliament Hill to condemn the transfer of McClintic to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan. They have urged fellow Canadians angered by the decision to join them.
Their planned rally comes after months of political uproar over the transfer and is set to take place days after another inmate escaped from a similar healing lodge also located in Saskatchewan over the weekend.
While Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has asked the commissioner of Correctional Services Canada to review the decision and the rules that led to it, Conservatives have accused the government of not doing enough.
Now, the Conservatives have announced they will put forward a motion asking the House of Commons to let a committee amend an unrelated bill to include a ban on transferring people convicted of killing children to healing lodges.
The bill in question proposes amending the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to eliminate the use of solitary confinement.
Conservative public safety critic Pierre Paul-Hus wants the House of Commons to authorize the public safety committee that will be reviewing the solitary confinement bill to also allow members to propose an amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to forbid child-killers from being moved to healing lodges for any portion of their sentence.
Normally, such an amendment would not be allowed.
That’s because once a bill passes the process of second reading, there can be no amendments made that would alter the core scope of it.
Given the bill in question relates specifically to solitary confinement, attempts to add amendments to also ban unrelated transfers to healing lodges during the committee study of the bill would not be allowed.
However, House of Commons rules also state that there are times when MPs can authorize a committee to do what they normally could not.
Specifically, the procedural rules say that via a motion, the House of Commons can give a committee an instruction that lets it “expand or narrow the scope or application of a bill,” among other things.
The motion asking for this authorization is not scheduled to come up in the House of Commons on Monday.
More details are expected to be available on Tuesday.
McClintic was moved from the Grand Valley Institution to the Okimaw Ohci healing lodge, located on the Nekaneet First Nation in Saskatchewan.
Stafford’s father condemned that transfer to Global News in September, calling it “very upsetting.”
“Anybody who takes a vulnerable person’s life … they shouldn’t have the opportunity to be in a freaking healing lodge less than 10 years into a 25-year sentence,” he said in an interview with Global News Radio.
McClintic pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole before 25 years in 2010.
But she could actually apply for parole after serving just 15 years, thanks to the “faint hope clause.”
That clause allows convicts to apply for early release after serving 15 years of their life sentence.
While the former Conservative government got rid of that clause in 2012, that move did not apply retroactively.
Since McClintic was sentenced before the faint hope clause was eliminated, she will be allowed to apply for early parole under its provisions.
That could see McClintic make a parole application six years from now, in 2024 rather than 2035.
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