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McClintic back in prison after time in healing lodge, Tori Stafford’s father says

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  • A convicted child killer who became the subject of national outrage when it was learned she’d been transferred to an Indigenous healing lodge is back in prison, the father of her young victim said Thursday.

    Rodney Stafford issued a brief, celebratory Facebook post announcing that Terri-Lynne McClintic, who pleaded guilty in the brutal death of his eight-year-old daughter Tori, was no longer at the Saskatchewan lodge run by Corrections Canada.

    “It’s official!!! Terri-Lynne is back behind bars,” he wrote in the online post.

    Stafford later told a Toronto media outlet that McClintic had been relocated to a prison in Edmonton overnight, noting that Corrections Canada officials told him of the move Thursday morning.

    McClintic became a figure of national infamy after details emerged about Tori’s 2009 slaying.

    The girl from Woodstock, Ont., who was missing for three months before her body was found, had been abducted, repeatedly raped, and ultimately bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

    McClintic, 18 at the time of the killing,  pleaded guilty in 2010 and offered testimony that helped convict her then boyfriend, Michael Rafferty. In separate proceedings, McClintic and Rafferty were both sentenced to life in prison without any chance of parole for 25 years.

    Stafford learned, however, that eight years into her sentence, McClintic was quietly relocated to the healing lodge, a facility touted as a path to rehabilitation for Indigenous offenders. The remote, rural lodge is listed as a medium-security institution for women.

    Stafford, who has emerged as a child safety advocate in the years since his daughter’s death, found himself at the centre of a charged political controversy when word of McClintic’s transfer emerged.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government came under fierce criticism for both the initial transfer and the fact that no move was immediately made to reverse it.

    The government said it would review the transfer decision, and the Conservative opposition repeatedly raised the issue, calling on the Liberals to place McClintic back in prison.

    On Wednesday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced more stringent measures governing transfers to healing lodges, adding that the new approach would be applied in both past and future cases.

    Trudeau said on Thursday that the new rules will increase accountability.

    “These changes will help ensure guilty parties are held accountable while fostering rehabilitation so we can have fewer repeat offenders, fewer victims, and ultimately safer communities,” he said during Question Period, adding that the government had heard the anguish expressed by Tori’s family.

    In an interview with Toronto television station CP24, Stafford gave Ottawa some credit for sending McClintic back to a traditional prison.

    “I see the reaction from the federal government as being a positive one because the steps have been made to put her back to where she had to go and where she belongs,” he said.

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, however, said that the government was doing little more than bowing to public pressure.

    “The Liberals have finally backed down and taken action,” Scheer said during a policy announcement in Brampton, Ont. “But we can never forget that they only made this decision after being forced to.”

    The new rules announced by Goodale specify that prisoners won’t be eligible for transfers to healing lodges without secured perimeters until they’re into the “preparation for release” phases of their sentences. In McClintic’s case, she would not be eligible for such a move until she nears the end of the 25 years she must serve before being eligible for parole.

    The Correctional Service of Canada will also have to consider inmates’ behaviour and how close they are to being eligible for unescorted temporary absences from prison before transferring them.

    In addition, the deputy commissioner for women will be involved in decisions to ensure national standards are applied consistently and relevant factors are considered.

    Goodale said healing lodges still have a role to play in the correctional system but acknowledged a need for more public education in how prisoner decisions get made.

    “These are decisions that are not taken lightly or capriciously,” he said. “They are based on evidence and sound principles, and there needs to be a higher level of understanding of that.”

    In addition, there must be more meaningful and useful communication with victims given the anguish they have suffered, he said.

    “They need to know that their perspective is being properly respected.”

    Michelle McQuigge , The Canadian Press


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    Police looking into two more incidents at private all-boys’ school

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  • Toronto police say they have learned of two more incidents at a private all-boys’ school at the centre of an investigation into allegations of assault and sexual assault.

    Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray says one of the incidents is being investigated as an assault with a weapon, while the second is considered a threat.

    The latest incidents bring to six the number of cases being investigated by police at St. Michael’s College School, a Roman Catholic school that teaches grades 7 to 12.

    Police and the school have said two of those incidents involved an alleged sexual assault.

    Police laid charges against six students on Monday in connection with one of the alleged sexual assaults that was captured on video.

    Five of the teens turned themselves in to police Monday morning, while another one was arrested while on his way to school.

    More to come.

    The Canadian Press


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    National

    Ottawa to release competitiveness plan, but it’s unclear how much help is needed

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  • OTTAWA — The federal government will roll out an update to its fiscal plan Wednesday to help Canada compete for investment dollars following major American corporate tax reforms — but it’s up for debate whether Canada is facing a serious investment challenge.

    The business community has called on federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau to respond to the Trump administration’s tax and regulatory overhaul with significant changes of his own in Canada —including corporate tax cuts.

    The government, however, has signalled it will be focused on targeted measures to attract investment, rather than broad-based corporate tax reductions that would lower federal revenues by billions of dollars per year.

    Morneau will lay out his plan in Wednesday’s much-anticipated fall economic statement — which will arrive after months of debate on whether Canada has lost its edge as an investment destination, and by how much.

    Canada has heard many warnings from the business community that American tax reforms will have a big, negative impact on investment here — but some experts insist the country has performed well even after the U.S. overhaul.

    Economist Randall Bartlett says investment in Canada has been pretty strong through the first part of 2018 and he believes it’s difficult to draw a direct link between the country’s performance and the U.S. tax changes.

    Bartlett, who works for a University of Ottawa think-tank headed by former parliamentary budget watchdog Kevin Page, says people on both sides of the debate seem to be cherry- picking data points to support their interests.

    Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press


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