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McClintic, as the star witness against Rafferty, told court how she heard screams and, when she went back, saw Tori on the ground.

Put a garbage bag over the youngster’s head. Kicked her. Struck her over the head with a hammer.

Helped bury her under a nearby pile of rocks.

At her own half-day trial, two years earlier — most of the proceedings kept out of the media for seven months because of a publication ban — McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

“You are admitting you’re guilty of murdering Victoria Stafford?” Justice Dougald McDermid asked.

Yes.

“You understand that I will have no choice but to sentence you to life?”

Yes.

“Have you been threatened or coerced in any way to plead guilty?”

No.

“And why are you entering a guilty plea today?”

McClintic: “Because I feel it’s the right thing to do. A little girl lost her life. I need to give something back.”

Ninety-seven days passed before Tori’s remains were found.

Eight years into a mandatory life sentence with no chance for parole until the quarter-century mark, McClintic is doing cushy time at an Aboriginal healing lodge in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, although it’s unclear whether she has a drop of Indigenous blood in her.

The graphic details of Tori’s suffering during her last years on earth, well, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t want to hear them. “Ambulance-chasing politicians,” Trudeau called Conservative MPs, who hammered away at the Liberals this week in the House of Commons, decrying the child-killer’s transfer from the high-security Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener.

A Tory motion on Wednesday to reverse the transfer was easily defeated. Trudeau didn’t even stay for the vote. He bailed.In all likelihood, the opposition was indeed milking the gruesome details of abduction, rape and murder for political ends, jabbing the Liberals in their vulnerable underbelly as soft on crime. So what? There is no high road in covering one’s ears to the brutality Tori endured. Those of us who were in court, heard it from McClintic, were sickened too. But bearing witness is the least we can do for Tori. Trudeau must be made of daintier stuff.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale had already countered, limply, by punting the controversy to Correctional Services Canada, for a review of whether the move to the lodge was in accordance with the law. Correctional Services Canada, via commissioner Anne Kelly, is “comfortable” with the relocation. A relocation that took place last December, although McClintic had earlier been transferred to medium security on the Tory government watch.Tori’s dad, Rodney Stafford, only learned of it a few weeks ago, when told by his mother she’d been contacted by Corrections, trying to reach him, because McClintic had applied for day passes. First he knew the murderess was at an Aboriginal healing lodge — a place without fences, with both single and family residential units so that children can stay with offenders. The emphasis is on reintegration, restorative justice, following Aboriginal practices and spirituality.Rodney Stafford has been on a mission ever since, one he doesn’t consider political. He is imploring as a father, even posting a message to Trudeau on Facebook: “From father to father, can you kneel before your child’s headstone knowing they spent the last three hours of their life begging and pleading for mommy and daddy to come save them, alone, 8, scared, can you sleep soundly knowing there’s more injustice unfolding before you.”This is not an indictment of healing lodges — nine of them across the country — which serve a useful purpose, created by 1992 national legislation to allow Aboriginal communities to provide correctional services, part of a larger undertaking to address overrepresentation of […]

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