Child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic transferred from healing lodge to Edmonton prison - Canadanewsmedia
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Child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic transferred from healing lodge to Edmonton prison

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Child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic has been transferred from an Indigenous healing lodge to an Edmonton prison for women.​

McClintic, who is serving a life sentence for the brutal rape and murder of Tori Stafford, 8, of Woodstock, Ont., was transferred from the Grand Valley Institution for Women near Kitchener, Ont., to the Okima Ohci Healing Lodge for Aboriginal Women on Nekaneet First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.

McClintic's transfer back to a conventional prison was confirmed for CBC News by Tori's father, Rodney Stafford.

He posted a message on Facebook praising the development.

The transfer to the lodge sparked public outrage, protests and divisive political debate.

Alberta Conservative MP Glen Motz said the victim's family and all Canadians could have been spared the drawn-out, painful debate had the government acted immediately to overturn the transfer decision.

"What's disappointing is instead of taking decisive action when she was transferred, or when they became aware of the transfer, they deflected, they dodged, they hid behind their officials in process, until they were humiliated into doing the right thing," he said.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has insisted he has no legal power to intervene in individual cases, and has aruged that those decisions must be left to the professional bureaucrats who make decisions about correctional and security classifications based on what is best for the offender's rehabilitation and for public safety.

A memo from the assistant deputy attorney general for three federal departments — Public Safety, Defence and Immigration — provided to CBC News says the minister can give directives on strategy objectives, priorities and goals, but his delegates have statutory authority over specific directives on particular cases.

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer credited opposition and public pressure for the transfer.

"Justice has finally been served because of you, the thousands of Canadians who let their voices be heard," he said during an event in Brampton, Ont. "Because of the opposition pressure, the Liberals have finally backed down and taken action."

On Wednesday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale ordered Correctional Service Canada to improve policies related to transfers of "medium-security women offenders to facilities that do not have a directly controlled perimeter."

Under that new policy, transfers must be authorized by CSC's deputy commissioner for women, who will be required to ensure that Indigenous communities are engaged in transfer recommendations.

Factors in evaluating transfers to facilities without a controlled perimeter include:

  • Length of an offender's sentence.
  • Time remaining before an offender is eligible for an Unescorted Temporary Absence.
  • A requirement that long term offenders be at least into the "preparation for release" phase of their correctional plan.
  • Institutional behaviour, for those serving long sentences.

Edmonton Institution for Women is a multi-level facility with minimum, medium and maximum security wings.

According to the Correctional Service Canada website, it has "a minimum security residential-style apartment unit and residential-style small group accommodation houses for minimum and medium-security inmates in an open campus design model."

Intense political debate

News of McClintic's transfer comes after fraught political debate. The Conservatives tabled a motion demanding the Liberal government condemn the decision to transfer her to a healing lodge, and to overturn it.

During the emotional Oct. 3 debate on the motion, Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of making "excuses" to avoid sending McClintic back to a conventional prison.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in response, called the Conservatives "ambulance-chasing politicians" who show a contempt for the principles of law.

On Thursday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer demanded Trudeau apologize for politicizing the issue. Trudeau did not, and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May suggested Scheer would qualify for a "hypocrite of the year award for parliamentarians."

McClintic is not eligible for parole until 2031.

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Relief and restraint on the way, Finance Minister Fedeli says

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Ontario finance minister Vic Fedeli. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun file)

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Relief for families and spending restraints are expected to be the focus of Finance Minister Vic Fedeli’s first Fall Economic Statement Thursday.

The Ontario PC fiscal plan will lay bare the serious state of the province’s books, but will still find ways to make life more affordable, Fedeli said.

“It will underline a careful balance of how we have to find efficiencies and have to bring relief to families because they’ve just been paying too much for far too long,” Fedeli told the Toronto Sun Wednesday.

“We hope that people will see that there is really a fine balance in there.”

The Finance Minister promised “major initiatives” but did not provide any specific details.

During the election campaign, Premier Doug Ford made several promises to reduce the cost of living for average folks, including a commitment that those making the minimum wage would pay no provincial tax and a middle-class tax cut to start in 2020-21.

The Ontario fall economic statement is usually a mid-year fiscal check-up for the province but the document to be released Thursday will be the Ford government’s first chance to take direct aim at what it says is a difficult financial situation.

“The Auditor General told us in her pre-election report that the Liberal numbers were bogus – we’ve now learned the true breadth and depth,” Fedeli said.

“We certainly have confirmed that much of their revenue assumptions were based on one-time sale of assets which really skews the numbers when you don’t have any more assets to sell.”

As the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) has pointed out, one-time revenue from the sale of Hydro One, GM shares, the Ontario Power Generation head office and LCBO warehouse went into previous operating budgets and is no longer available, he said.

The FAO fall 2017 update projected a significant increase in the budget deficit due to the “loss of time-limited revenues, a more moderate pace of tax revenue growth and the growing fiscal impact from the Fair Hydro Plan.”

Equalization payments, federal funds that go to ‘have not’ provinces to give all Canadians access to the same level of services, will also dry up next year, Fedeli said.

Prior to the spring election, the Ontario Liberals delivered a budget that they said was balanced.

A Financial Commission of Inquiry, established by the Ford government, concluded that the Liberals had run a $6.7 billion deficit in 2017-18 and were on track to deliver a $15 billion deficit this fiscal year.

Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter said the fall economic statement will give Ontarians their first look at the impact of Ford’s campaign promises.

“What is clear is that we must not revert back to a fiscal plan of Conservative austerity that eliminates the progress we’ve made in Ontario,” Hunter said in a statement. “Ontario has seen the highest economic growth amongst G7 and the lowest jobless rate in 20 years. The success must be maintained.”

Fedeli said the Liberals bungled the province’s finances and deliberately and improperly cast a multi-billion-dollar hole in their budget as an “accounting” dispute.

“It’s not an accounting dispute; it’s math,” Fedeli said.

“It’s tough out there but we’re going to find a way and we’re going to bring some relief right away.”

aartuso@postmedia.com

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Police investigate alleged sexual assault involving students at St. Michael's College

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Toronto police say they're investigating an alleged sexual assault incident involving students at St. Michael's College, and the school said in a statement Wednesday it has taken action, including expelling some of the students involved.

Local media says students have reported seeing a graphic video, which was shared on social media and later removed, involving a group of students from the Catholic boys' private school, 

"The school administration promptly conducted an internal investigation, including meeting individually with the students involved and their parents. As a result, swift and decisive disciplinary action has taken place, including expulsions," the college's statement reads. 

"The school has zero tolerance for such behaviour." 

Police say their investigation is ongoing with the help of officers from 13 Division and the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC).

"At this stage, given the nature of the allegations, and the involvement of young people, we will not release anything further," said police spokesperson Katrina Arrogante. . 

Principal warns of 'two very serious incidents' 

In an email statement sent to parents Wednesday afternoon, Principal Greg Reeves warned of "two very serious incidents" that occurred on campus and were in violation of the student code of conduct. 

In the statement, Reeves said the administration was informed of the incidents on Monday of this week and addressed the student body in a formal assembly Wednesday. 

"Our concern is first and foremost with the safety and well-being of our students and we are shocked and heartbroken that such incidents have taken place at our school," Reeves said in the statement. 

Given police involvement and the privacy of those involved in the incidents, the school says it will not be making any further comments. 

'Sexual violence has no place in our community' 

Jill Andrew, the NDP MPP for Toronto-St. Paul's, also issued a statement Wednesday, saying every student should feel safe. 

"Reports of sexual assault at St. Michael's College School are deeply disturbing, and I join with my community of St. Paul's in saying that sexual violence has no place in our community," the statement said. 

Andrew said young people must be educated on issues of consent, bullying and gender-based violence. 

"Environments that prop up toxic masculinity and rape culture contribute to and sustain sexual violence," she said in the statement. 

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Kenney decries minister's threats against schools not following GSA policy

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Alberta’s education minister said almost all schools in the province have implemented policy to comply with legislation designed to protect students, with a few holdouts, nearly one year after legislation was passed.

In a news conference Wednesday, Minister David Eggen said every one of the province’s public, separate, francophone and charter school authorities had enacted policies to comply with legislation.

“This means over 98 per cent of kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Alberta are currently protected under compliant policies,” Eggen said.

While most school authorities are following the legislation, Eggen said one-quarterof holdouts remain. A total of 28 of the province’s 94 accredited and funded private school authorities have not met requirements set out in the legislation.

“It’s not just kids in school, but the progress we’ve made in our society that we should be concerned about,” Eggen said.

Eggen said he has issued ministerial orders establishing standard policies for these school authorities, and he said he doesn’t plan to stop there if they continue to defy the legislation. He said authorities who do not comply “will lose their taxpayer-funded, per-student grant for the 2019-20 school year.”

An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances, which was previously called Bill 24, was passed in December 2017. The legislation strengthened the School Act to support students who wish to join or create gay-straight or queer-straight alliances.

Under the legislation, schools were required to publicly post policies in a prominent location on their websites by June 30, 2018.

As the province closes in on one year since the Act was passed, Eggen looked forward to the 2019 provincial election, and warned against the possibility a conservative government would reverse the legislation.

“With the noise that we’ve heard from the [UCP], the history of their leader and his statements against equality for LGBTQ people in this province,” Eggen said

At a speaking engagement Wednesday, UCP leader Jason Kenney said if his party were to form government after an election, students would have the right to participate with such groups.

“Our principle would be kids have a right to set up gay-straight alliance or other peer support group,” Kenney said.

“We also support the freedom of religion of independent schools and [Eggen has] objected to some pretty garden variety statements of faith that some of these schools have in their governance documents,” Kenney said.

Meanwhile, the opposition leader questioned the minister’s approach to organizations not following the rules.

“We don’t think it’s very useful to be throwing around threats of defunding.”

With files from Timm Bruch

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