He never served, but Veterans Affairs pays for convicted murderer's PTSD treatment

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Post by Samwell on Sun 16 Dec 2018, 11:05 am

Liberals defend PTSD benefit for murder

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Post by Zephariah on Sun 30 Dec 2018, 2:28 pm

Emails reveal how Ottawa sought to explain PTSD treatment for man who killed cop



He never served, but Veterans Affairs pays for convicted murderer's PTSD treatment - Page 7 Image


Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, December 30, 2018


HALIFAX -- Newly released documents offer a glimpse into how high-level government officials grappled to respond to the revelation that Veterans Affairs was funding the PTSD treatment of a Halifax man convicted of killing an off-duty police officer.

Emails obtained by The Canadian Press through Access to Information and Privacy legislation reveal a slew of people within the Veterans Affairs office -- including the deputy minister, policy analysts and communications officers -- were involved in shaping the message that was relayed to media about Christopher Garnier's benefits.

The news came out during Garnier's sentencing hearing for the second-degree murder of Catherine Campbell, a Truro, N.S., police officer. The court heard Veterans Affairs was covering the cost of his psychologist because his father is a veteran who has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.


Within the hundreds of pages of emails deliberating how to respond to the inundation of media inquiries, officials discussed pertinent policy and what messages would "support the rationale for including family members in a veterans treatment plan."

Trevor Nicholson, a senior policy analyst with Veterans Affairs, outlined for several of his colleagues how the department's mental health policy functions.

"Who may be included in a veteran's treatment plan or rehabilitation plan... is at the discretion of the decision-maker based on the recommendation of the veterans treating health professional, and in consultation with the veterans," said Nicholson in an Aug. 28 email.

"(Veterans Affairs Canada) may include family in treatment sessions with the veteran patient and/or provide session to family members on their own in order to address the impacts that the patients' mental health condition is having on the other members of the family unit."

In an email to nine of her colleagues the next day, Veterans Affairs official Sandra Williamson wrote that "it must be made clear that the full range of benefits and services offers to veterans is NOT offered to family members."

Mary Nicholson, director of health care and rehabilitation programs for Veterans Affairs, agreed with Williamson's approach.

"I'm sure it's part of your messaging but also important to note that family members were only ever granted access to recognize the important part they play in supporting ill or injured veterans -- part of the well-being framework," she wrote in an email on Aug. 29.

Even Veterans Affairs deputy minister Walt Natynczyk and associate deputy minister Lisa Campbell weighed in on what the department told the media.

"(The deputy minister and associate) have asked us to update our lines to include two things... That the focus of providing counselling etc. to a family member is always based on the best interest of the well-being of the veteran... and a line around what services we may provide and what correctional services might provide, and including that there is no duplication or overlap of these services," communications officer Steven Harris wrote on Aug. 29.

In a statement to The Canadian Press about the Garnier case, Veterans Affairs said communications lines are developed and reviewed regularly as part of a daily work process.

"It is part of normal business processes to connect to different areas of the department to ensure that messaging accurately reflects department policy and activity," spokesman Martin Magnan said in an email.

In September, the Trudeau government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye before approving funds and services for the family member of veterans -- particularly relatives convicted of serious crimes.

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan told the House of Commons that benefits would in the future not be provided to a veteran's family member who is incarcerated in a federal facility.

But when it came to Garnier's benefits, O'Regan repeatedly cited privacy considerations for refusing to discuss the case while indicating the order would not be retroactive.

The federal government was also apparently flooded with letters from the public, as widespread outrage mounted over Garnier's receipt of financial assistance for a mental condition that was brought on by the murder.

"Quite frankly this is an outrage and a direct slap in the face, towards veterans, by a Liberal government that has already lost major support from the veteran community. Catherine Campbell's parents deserve better from (Veterans Affairs Canada) and from the government of Canada," a citizen, whose name is redacted, wrote on Aug. 29.

Another member of the public, whose name is redacted, wrote: "I can only imagine what mental repercussions must come from strangling a female police officer to death here at home in Canada. The murderer must be truly appreciative of the flood of support from (Veterans Affairs Canada), while surviving members of our veteran families struggle."

In an Aug. 30 email to several other Veteran Affairs officials, Anick Bedard wrote that O'Regan was receiving a "large number of emails" reacting to the news.

In response to one letter, Nova Scotia Liberal MP Sean Fraser conceded that his initial reaction was one of disbelief.

"It was difficult at the outset to understand how someone who suffers from PTSD as a result of a murder they committed should be eligible for health benefits from Veteran Affairs Canada," Fraser wrote on Aug. 30 in an email attached to the file.

"Despite my first reaction, I want to be extremely careful about how policy may develop in response to the extraordinary facts of this case. The system that provides medical coverage to veterans and their families is a good one, and a political knee-jerk reaction to this case has the potential to deny coverage to veterans and their family members who need it, which I don't believe is a result that anyone wants."

Garnier -- who strangled the 36-year-old woman and used a compost bin to dispose of her body -- is appealing his second-degree murder conviction and sentence.

The conviction carries an automatic life sentence, but a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice ruled in August that Garnier would be able to apply for parole after serving 13 and a half years -- less 699 days for time served.

During his trial, Garnier repeatedly told the jury he did not remember using the large green compost bin to dispose of the body near a harbour bridge, where it stayed undetected for nearly five days.

Garnier had also argued that Campbell died accidentally during rough sex that she initiated after they met at a downtown bar earlier that evening.


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Post by Trooper on Sun 30 Dec 2018, 7:37 pm

Zephariah wrote:
Emails reveal how Ottawa sought to explain PTSD treatment for man who killed cop



He never served, but Veterans Affairs pays for convicted murderer's PTSD treatment - Page 7 Image


Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, December 30, 2018


HALIFAX -- Newly released documents offer a glimpse into how high-level government officials grappled to respond to the revelation that Veterans Affairs was funding the PTSD treatment of a Halifax man convicted of killing an off-duty police officer.

Emails obtained by The Canadian Press through Access to Information and Privacy legislation reveal a slew of people within the Veterans Affairs office -- including the deputy minister, policy analysts and communications officers -- were involved in shaping the message that was relayed to media about Christopher Garnier's benefits.

The news came out during Garnier's sentencing hearing for the second-degree murder of Catherine Campbell, a Truro, N.S., police officer. The court heard Veterans Affairs was covering the cost of his psychologist because his father is a veteran who has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.


Within the hundreds of pages of emails deliberating how to respond to the inundation of media inquiries, officials discussed pertinent policy and what messages would "support the rationale for including family members in a veterans treatment plan."

Trevor Nicholson, a senior policy analyst with Veterans Affairs, outlined for several of his colleagues how the department's mental health policy functions.

"Who may be included in a veteran's treatment plan or rehabilitation plan... is at the discretion of the decision-maker based on the recommendation of the veterans treating health professional, and in consultation with the veterans," said Nicholson in an Aug. 28 email.

"(Veterans Affairs Canada) may include family in treatment sessions with the veteran patient and/or provide session to family members on their own in order to address the impacts that the patients' mental health condition is having on the other members of the family unit."

In an email to nine of her colleagues the next day, Veterans Affairs official Sandra Williamson wrote that "it must be made clear that the full range of benefits and services offers to veterans is NOT offered to family members."

Mary Nicholson, director of health care and rehabilitation programs for Veterans Affairs, agreed with Williamson's approach.

"I'm sure it's part of your messaging but also important to note that family members were only ever granted access to recognize the important part they play in supporting ill or injured veterans -- part of the well-being framework," she wrote in an email on Aug. 29.

Even Veterans Affairs deputy minister Walt Natynczyk and associate deputy minister Lisa Campbell weighed in on what the department told the media.

"(The deputy minister and associate) have asked us to update our lines to include two things... That the focus of providing counselling etc. to a family member is always based on the best interest of the well-being of the veteran... and a line around what services we may provide and what correctional services might provide, and including that there is no duplication or overlap of these services," communications officer Steven Harris wrote on Aug. 29.

In a statement to The Canadian Press about the Garnier case, Veterans Affairs said communications lines are developed and reviewed regularly as part of a daily work process.

"It is part of normal business processes to connect to different areas of the department to ensure that messaging accurately reflects department policy and activity," spokesman Martin Magnan said in an email.

In September, the Trudeau government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye before approving funds and services for the family member of veterans -- particularly relatives convicted of serious crimes.

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan told the House of Commons that benefits would in the future not be provided to a veteran's family member who is incarcerated in a federal facility.

But when it came to Garnier's benefits, O'Regan repeatedly cited privacy considerations for refusing to discuss the case while indicating the order would not be retroactive.

The federal government was also apparently flooded with letters from the public, as widespread outrage mounted over Garnier's receipt of financial assistance for a mental condition that was brought on by the murder.

"Quite frankly this is an outrage and a direct slap in the face, towards veterans, by a Liberal government that has already lost major support from the veteran community. Catherine Campbell's parents deserve better from (Veterans Affairs Canada) and from the government of Canada," a citizen, whose name is redacted, wrote on Aug. 29.

Another member of the public, whose name is redacted, wrote: "I can only imagine what mental repercussions must come from strangling a female police officer to death here at home in Canada. The murderer must be truly appreciative of the flood of support from (Veterans Affairs Canada), while surviving members of our veteran families struggle."

In an Aug. 30 email to several other Veteran Affairs officials, Anick Bedard wrote that O'Regan was receiving a "large number of emails" reacting to the news.

In response to one letter, Nova Scotia Liberal MP Sean Fraser conceded that his initial reaction was one of disbelief.

"It was difficult at the outset to understand how someone who suffers from PTSD as a result of a murder they committed should be eligible for health benefits from Veteran Affairs Canada," Fraser wrote on Aug. 30 in an email attached to the file.

"Despite my first reaction, I want to be extremely careful about how policy may develop in response to the extraordinary facts of this case. The system that provides medical coverage to veterans and their families is a good one, and a political knee-jerk reaction to this case has the potential to deny coverage to veterans and their family members who need it, which I don't believe is a result that anyone wants."

Garnier -- who strangled the 36-year-old woman and used a compost bin to dispose of her body -- is appealing his second-degree murder conviction and sentence.

The conviction carries an automatic life sentence, but a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice ruled in August that Garnier would be able to apply for parole after serving 13 and a half years -- less 699 days for time served.

During his trial, Garnier repeatedly told the jury he did not remember using the large green compost bin to dispose of the body near a harbour bridge, where it stayed undetected for nearly five days.

Garnier had also argued that Campbell died accidentally during rough sex that she initiated after they met at a downtown bar earlier that evening.



All of this backlash could have been prevented if we had a Minister of Veterans Affairs with half a brain. He is at the top of the file he could have reversed this at day 1. Come out with a press conference stating that he reversed this benefit due to the situation of a convicted killer. These people who hold top positions in our government are terrified to make a decision fearing repercussions. With Ministers of Veterans Affairs they can only stand for photo ops, take tax payer trips, and hold press conferences on what was relayed to them from the bureaucrats. Useless!
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Post by Guest on Tue 01 Jan 2019, 9:45 am

The is how a politically correct society operates when it is in overdrive. To much emphasis is put on the rehabilitation of murderers.

Punishment, severe punishment should be the order of the day. Deterence, people sane or insane need a deterence. Outside of extreme mental illness, everyone knows right from wrong. It's in our DNA and has evolved over millions of years.

Impulse, if you cannot control your impulses and commit violent crimes you should be severely punished.

People should be so afraid to commit heinous crimes that death would be more desirable than the years of harsh punishment that awaits them.

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Post by Silveray_88 on Fri 18 Jan 2019, 12:08 pm

Making a bad situation worse

Published: Jan 18, 2019

He never served, but Veterans Affairs pays for convicted murderer's PTSD treatment - Page 7 Frankly-speaking-with-frank-likely-3160022_large

[Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely]

The federal Veterans Affairs Department handling of the Garnier matter is a real case of making a bad situation even worse.

Christopher Garnier is the young man convicted of killing an off-duty police officer in Halifax a couple of years ago. At his sentencing, Garnier sought leniency due to suffering PTSD brought on by the trauma of the murder.

There was a significant outcry when it was discovered that the Veterans Affairs Department was covering the cost of his counselling services for the PTSD because his father was a veteran and was receiving treatment for PTSD as well.

Under information released to the Canadian Press under the Freedom to Information Act, it was revealed that dependants of veterans are entitled to receive services as well, as long as the services “address the impacts that the patient's (veteran's) mental health condition is having on the other members of the family unit.” In other words, the family members can receive help to help them understand the veteran's issues.

The FOI documents reveal a concentrated effort to try and develop a credible statement of policy in defence of the younger Garnier receiving the benefit from DVA. Everyone from the deputy Minister down was offering opinion on what might be acceptable to say, with the bottom line being the assertion that family members were only ever granted access to services to “recognizing the important part they play in supporting…veterans.” It is clear that benefits were never intended to cover a dependant whose own actions, such as killing someone, brought on their own PTSD.

Then the DVA minister stepped into the fray and announced that the department would no longer provide any services to veterans' dependants who were incarcerated in federal institutions. So much for the policy of assistance in helping a veterans family address their loved ones issues.

Rather that circling the wagons to protect their rear ends on this one they managed to circle the firing squad and shoot themselves in the foot, making a bad situation even worse.

Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister who lives in Springhill




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Post by Thunder95 on Fri 26 Apr 2019, 6:02 pm

N.S. appeal court will hear Christopher Garnier case in December

Christopher Garnier was convicted in 2017 of killing off-duty Truro police officer Catherine Campbell

Blair Rhodes · CBC News · Posted: Apr 26, 2019

He never served, but Veterans Affairs pays for convicted murderer's PTSD treatment - Page 7 Christopher-garnier-found-guilty

Four years after he killed an off-duty police officer and exactly two years after he was convicted of the crime, Christopher Garnier will go before Nova Scotia's highest court to argue he should get a new trial.

Lawyers for Garnier and the Crown agreed this week to take the case before a panel of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal on Dec. 3 for half a day of arguments.

Garnier was convicted of second-degree murder in December 2017.

He was charged after the body of Truro police officer Catherine Campbell was discovered under the Halifax approaches to the Macdonald Bridge, days after she disappeared on Sept. 11, 2015.

The conviction carried an automatic life sentence. Justice Josh Arnold ruled that Garnier must serve at least 13 ½ years in prison before he can begin applying for parole.


He never served, but Veterans Affairs pays for convicted murderer's PTSD treatment - Page 7 Catherine-campbell
Catherine Campbell, an off-duty police officer, was strangled and her body dumped in a green bin on Sept. 11, 2015. (CBC)



Just weeks after his conviction on Dec. 21, 2017, Garnier filed his own notice of appeal from prison. In it, Garnier cited areas where he said Justice Arnold had erred including:

  • Ruling that Garnier's charter rights were not violated;

  • Ruling that Garnier's second statement to police was free and voluntary;

  • Excluding an expert from testifying before the jury on the voluntariness of that statement ;

  • The judge's final instructions were too complicated and convoluted for a jury to understand.


Nova Scotia Legal Aid has now taken over Garnier's case and lawyer Roger Burrill will be representing him in the appeal.

Burrill has indicated to the court that he will not be filing a new notice of appeal because everything is covered in the one Garnier himself filed.

It took longer than expected for Legal Aid to decide whether they would handle this appeal. They needed to review a transcript of the trial before they could make that decision. Three deadlines passed before that transcript was ready.

Outrage over Veterans Affairs tab
Even after he was sentenced, Garnier's case provoked national outrage when it was learned Veterans Affairs Canada was paying for his PTSD treatment.

He has never served in the Canadian military but because his father did, as a military police officer, Garnier was entitled to get his treatments paid for by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Garnier said he developed PTSD as a result of the murder. Following the outcry, Veterans Affairs amended its policy.






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