The leader of Canada’s Conservative Party had harsh words for Canada’s public safety minister after Ralph Goodale defended the transfer of a convicted child killer to a Saskatchewan healing lodge.
Terri-Lynne McClintic was convicted of the first-degree murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford in 2010, and was handed a life sentence with no parole for 25 years. Stafford’s family members said Correctional Service Canada notified them that McClintic had been transferred to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, located near Maple Creek.
In a Tuesday interview with CTV, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the decision to transfer McClintic was “the best way to both rectify her bad practices in the past, but also to keep the public safe.” Goodale’s comments drew stern criticisms from Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, who joined 650 CKOM/980 CJME’s John Gormley Wednesday to discuss the case.
“This just struck me to the core,” Scheer said. “The unimaginable horror that went on in that poor little girl’s last few hours cannot be described as ‘bad practices.’ These are heinous acts of a deranged individual who chose to do evil.”
As a father of five himself, Scheer said he was at a loss for words when he saw Goodale defend the decision.
First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence in Canada with no possibility of parole for 25 years, but Scheer said that sentencing principle has “eroded” to the point where convicted killers such as McClintic can be eligible for day passes and transfers to “luxurious” low-security facilities well before they have served 25 years. Scheer said McClintic is clearly still a risk to public safety, pointing to her 2012 assault of another inmate within a Kitchener institution.
“She beat up – badly – another inmate, and then bragged about it,” Scheer said. “We’re not talking about someone who made a mistake at a young age and is trying to turn their life around. We’re talking about someone with a pattern of very deranged behavior. Very evil behavior.”
Stafford’s family was not consulted prior to McClintic’s transfer, Scheer said, and only learned of the move after she applied for day passes.
“This is just a slap in the face. An insult to the family,” he said.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa Wednesday, Goodale noted the Public Safety Minister does not rule on security classifications for inmates, but said he has asked Correctional Service Canada to undertake a full review of the case.
“I don’t have the ability to reverse the decision,” Goodale said. “I can ask the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada to review, to ensure that the law and proper procedures have been followed.”
McClintic was reclassified as a medium-security inmate in 2014, Goodale noted. He also pointed out that the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge houses both minimum and medium-security offenders.
–With files from The Canadian Press and 650 CKOM/980 CJME’s John Gormley.