Tories defend focus on transfer of offender to healing lodge

Conservatives raise the brutal details of Tori Stafford’s killing daily in the House of Commons

Anyone who has been paying attention to the Conservative opposition knows what issue is at the fore — the controversial transfer of convicted murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic from a medium-security prison to an Indigenous healing lodge.

The Tories have been relentless in the House of Commons, raising the brutal details of Tori Stafford’s killing daily, and calling on the Liberals to reverse her controversial transfer.

The Liberals have denounced the barrage as disgraceful, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling the Conservatives “ambulance-chasing politicians” in a testy exchange Wednesday aimed at Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, a lawyer by trade.

RELATED: Philpott defends Indigenous healing lodges amid controversy over Stafford killer

But Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives are unapologetic, saying the failure to keep McClintic locked behind bars resonates with Canadians. In addition to peppering the government with questions, the Opposition forced the Liberals to vote on a motion Wednesday calling for the government to condemn McClintic’s transfer and reverse it.

The motion was ultimately voted down, but Conservative strategists say raising the Stafford case in the House time after time is part of a broader strategy to emphasize injustices.

McClintic was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of the first-degree murder of Victoria (Tori) Stafford. McClintic’s boyfriend, Michael Rafferty, repeatedly raped her before the eight-year-old was ultimately killed with a claw hammer to the head.

McClintic has been transferred to Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in Saskatchewan, which is managed by the Correctional Service of Canada and is listed as a medium-security institution for women.

However, the Conservatives say healing lodges are meant for transition, not for people who should be locked away.

Conservative MP Candice Bergen, who sponsored the motion, said the Liberal attitude toward criminals is becoming evident.

She pointed to another case her party has raised repeatedly, that of Christopher Garnier, convicted of second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body in the death of 36-year-old Catherine Campbell, an off-duty police officer.

It recently became public that Veterans Affairs Canada was covering the cost of Garnier’s post-traumatic stress treatment because his father was a veteran who has also been diagnosed with PTSD.

Bergen argues that in both instances, the government should say, “this is wrong, we’re going to stop it.”

But Trudeau stood by his comments, telling reporters outside the Commons that the Conservatives “yet again” brought up in detail the tragic case of Stafford.

“The Conservatives are terribly upset that I referred to them as practising ambulance-chasing politics but if they’re upset it’s probably because it stings a bit.”

Trudeau’s remarks came less than 24 hours after vowing at a Liberal fundraiser he would not engage in personal attacks against opponents.

But this particular issue has struck a chord on both sides of the aisle.

RELATED: Correction head OK with transfer of Tori Stafford’s killer to healing lodge

Bergen said Canadians remember Stafford’s tragic death, calling it one of the most horrific murders in the country’s history. The Liberals do not understand the outrage Canadians feel, she added.

Tim Powers, a conservative strategist and vice-chairman of Summa Strategies, said the Tories are trying to connect to voters’ raw emotions and that the party aims to score political points but also change policy.

“You’re seeing people … turn a little bit against elites or the established order and if the government comes across as talking about a system that works and it’s an established system, they can make the government look a little bit out of touch.”

Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Castor looking into animal control bylaws and improving training for staff

The training is being undertaken by the Town employees to minimize public, staff, and animal risk

Historic Ghost Walks in Stettler slated for May 25th and June 22nd

Find out more about the community’s ‘ghostly’ history

Cultural experience

Metis storyteller Denise Miller visited Gus Wetter School

Town water system operating at significant loss

The Town typically runs at an around 20 per cent loss on the water system

Unveil Studio’s new project, Dream, explores meaning and purpose

The episodic series, shot by Matt and Dan Kooman, consists of inspiring stories from around the world

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Growing wildfire prompts warning for High Level to prepare for evacuation

Town of High Level announced Monday that residents should get personal items in order

Carbon tax, desk-thumping on agenda in upcoming Alberta legislature session

Jason Kenney has appointed a panel to come up with ways to reduce spending in the budget this fall

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Authorities warn out-of-control wildfire could cut northern Alberta town’s electricity

Alberta Transportation has closed Highway 35 south of High Level due to the fire

‘Rope-a-dope’: Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won’t distract them

Those against Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aren’t worried about promise to fight critics of energy industry

Almost $13 million to be paid to Grande Prairie hospital subcontractors, others

No reasons for the Court of Queen’s Bench order were released

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Speed, alcohol considered factors in deadly Calgary crash: police

Two female passengers in the Corolla, aged 31 and 65, died at the scene

Most Read