Residents are being invited to attend a pair of rallies later this week, protesting the transfer of convicted child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic from prison to a healing lodge.
Tori Stafford was eight years old when she was killed by McClintic and Michael Rafferty in 2009. Eight years into her first-degree murder sentence, McClintic was permitted to transfer to an aboriginal healing lodge in Saskatchewan.
The revelation has prompted Tori’s father, Rodney Stafford, to help organize a protest in Ottawa this Friday, demanding a ban on child-killers from being transferred out of prison.
“Well, they [the government] are going to have to re-evaluate the whole justice system,” he said. “Things have to be changed to go with today’s society. It’s a whole new world of predators and we need a whole new system.”
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The decision to transfer McClintic, and the rules that led to it, are currently under review by Correctional Services Canada, but Stafford feels the laws should be changed immediately.
“It was easy enough to make the mistake to put her where she is now. It should be easy enough to correct the mistake,” Stafford said.
Participants will begin to gather on Parliament Hill at 8 a.m., with some formal remarks set to begin shortly after 9 a.m.
A similar protest is being planned at the Court House in Woodstock on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Woodstock Mayor Trevor Birtch is among those who plan on attending.
“Our goal is to spread the word that the law needs to be changed in regards to convicted murderers of children or other vulnerable people,” said Woodstock rally organizer Natasha Green. “We want to see our government step to the plate and say, ‘this is not okay,’ and we want a change for Canada.”
All rally participants in Woodstock and Ottawa are being asked to wear purple, Tori’s favourite colour, to honour the memory of the little girl.
“We’re also asking people to bring signs — tasteful of course, no profanity, no vulgarity — just signs of support and love,” Green said. “We do not want any ill will, any negative feelings, any vibes of negativity surrounding us that day, just positive and like-minded people rallying for change.”
Members of the Woodstock police will be in attendance to help ensure the safety of participants and direct traffic if needed. Green added parking around the courthouse is minimal, so participants are encouraged to walk to the event if possible.