‘Send her back’: Tori Stafford’s father leads Ottawa protest against McClintic’s healing lodge transfer

The father of the child killed by Terri-Lynne McClintic is heading a protest in Ottawa Friday calling for the government to return her to a maximum security prison.

McClintic, who was convicted of killing eight-year-old Tory Stafford in 2009 and given a life sentence, was downgraded to a medium security prison in 2014 before being transferred to Saskatchewan’s Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge earlier this year.

Rodney Stafford helped organize the protest and wants to see an immediate ban on child-killers being transferred out of prison.

“Send Terri Lynne back to where she belongs, and after this, work on changing laws,” Stafford told Global News at the protest.

Corrections Canada is currently reviewing the transfer, but Stafford said the justice system needs to take a hard look at itself.

“For this to be able to happen there’s got to be loopholes that Terri-Lynne was able to follow through and get to where it is,” Stafford said.

He also said he wasn’t consulted at all during the process, only informed of the decision to move her after it had been made – but he’d be willing to talk to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale or other members of the government.

A report on the transfer decision is expected to be released in the coming days.

The Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is run by Corrections Canada and has no fences.

Healing lodges were created to address the disproportionate number of Indigenous people in the prison system and help them prepare to reintegrate with society. However, offenders looking to transfer to a healing lodge do not have to prove they are Indigenous.

But McClintic’s brother told Global News she is not Indigenous – but that she is an expert manipulator.

Dozens of people came out to the protest on Parliament Hill chanting “Send her back” and with signs saying “Violent criminals like McClintic should be behind bars.”

Participants at the rally were wearing purple, Tori’s favourite colour, to honour the memory of the little girl.

“It’s a great feeling knowing they’ve come this far to help support the cause, they know just as well as I do that it’s important,” Stafford said, adding that the issue affects all Canadians.

“It’d be best not just for me but for everybody. The sooner we can do something about these types of offenders having lower security and day passes, it’s not right, it’s not fair to the victims, and it needs to change.”

Activists on Parliament Hill protest the transfer of convicted child-killer Terri-Lynne McClintic to a healing lodge.

A second protest is taking place in Woodstock, Ont., where the Stafford family lived.

“Hearing that [McClintic’s] somewhere where she can potentially escape … it just kind of made me sick,” said Brittany Vincent, one of the organizers behind the Woodstock rally.

Vincent told 980 CFPL their goal is to keep things as positive as possible.

“Nobody is going to respond well to negativity. Nobody ever does. So really just making this about a little girl who is not seeing justice. I think that’s the key thing.”

— With files from Abilgail Bimman and 980 CFPL

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