HALIFAX – Recently published documents provide insight into how senior state officials fought to answer the discovery that veteran issues funded PTSD treatment for a man from Halifax who was convicted of murdering a non-serving cop.
E-mails received by the Canadian press through the Information and Privacy Access Act reveal that a number of people – including the deputy minister, political analysts and communications officers – who were involved in shaping a message forwarded to the Christopher media Garnier's favor.
The news came out during Garnier's murder verdict by Catherine Campbell, Truro, N.S. The court heard that veteran issues covered the costs of his psychologist because his father was a veteran who was also diagnosed with a post-traumatic stress disorder.
Within a hundred pages of emails considering how to respond to floods of media queries, officials discussed relevant policy and would "support the explanation for inclusion of family members in a veterans treatment plan".
Trevor Nicholson, Senior Political Analyst for Veterans Affairs, for several of his colleagues pointed out how mental health policy works.
"Who can be involved in a veterans' treatment plan or rehabilitation plan … decides the decision maker on the basis of veteran's recommendations that heal a health worker, and in consultation with defenders," Nicholson said in August. 28 by e-mail.
"(Veterans Affairs Canada) can include a family in therapy sessions with a veteran patient and / or work independently with family members to address the mental health impacts of other members of the family."
The next day, nine of his colleagues, British veteran officials Sandra Williamson wrote that "it must be clear that a whole range of benefits and services offered to defenders are NOT offered to family members."
Mary Nicholson, director of health and rehabilitation programs for veterans, agreed with Williamson's approach.
"I'm sure this is part of your message, but it's also important to note that family members have been granted access only to recognizing an important role in supporting sick or injured veterans – a part of the welfare framework," she wrote in an email on August 29.
Even Deputy Minister of Veterans Walt Natynczyk and Deputy Assistant Minister Lisa Campbell considered what the department said to the media.
"(Deputy Minister and Associate) have asked us to update our lines to include two things … that the focus is on providing counseling etc. The family member is always based on the best interest of veteran welfare … and the line about what services we can provide and what services can provide educational services, including no duplication or overlapping of these services, "said Steven Harris Communications officer on August 29.
In a Canadian press release on the case of Garnier, veterans say that communication lines are being developed and reviewed regularly as part of the daily work process.
"Part of the usual business processes to connect with different areas of the department to ensure that messages reflect accurately the policy and departmental activities," spokeswoman Martin Magnan said in an e-mail.
In September, the Trudeau government ordered officials to take a more critical stance before approving funds and services for a family member's family member – particularly relatives condemned for serious offenses.
Seamus Oratory Minister Regan told the Lower House that benefits in the future will not provide a family member who is locked in the federal facility.
But, when it comes to Garnier's benefits, Regan has repeatedly considered privacy considerations for refusing to talk about that case, while the ordering of the order was retroactive.
The federal government was also clearly overwhelmed with public letters, as the widespread bitterness grew into Garnier's receipt of financial aid for the mental state of the murder.
"Frankly speaking, it is anger and a direct slump, according to veterans, by a liberal government that has already lost a lot of support from the veteran community. Parents Catherine Campbell deserve better than (Veterans Affairs Canada) and Canada's government," a citizen whose name was redacted , wrote on August 29.
The other member of the public, whose name was redacted, wrote: "I can only imagine what mental consequences have to come from drowning a female policeman to death here at home in Canada The killer has to be truly grateful for the support of floods (Canadian issues in Canada) members of our veteran family are fighting. "
In an e-mail dated August 30, several other officials in the defense industry, Anick Bedard wrote that Regan received a "large number of emails" responding to the news.
In response to one letter, Scottish Liberal Party representative Sean Fraser admitted that his first reaction was disbelief.
"It was difficult at the outset to understand that someone who suffers from PTSD as a result of the murder they committed should have the right to health benefits from Veterinary Affairs in Canada," Fraser wrote on August 30 in the e-mail attachment file.
"Despite my first reaction, I want to be very careful about how politics can develop in response to the extraordinary facts of this case. The system that ensures the medical coverage of veterans and their families is good and the political knee reaction in this case has the potential to deny coverage to veterans and to the members of their families who need it, and for which I do not believe the result that someone wants. "
Garnier – who had fired a 36-year-old woman and used a waste compost to get rid of her body – complained of murder and second-degree punishment.
The convicting verdict carries an automatic life sentence, but the Supreme Court judge in New Scotland ruled in August that Garnier would be able to apply for parole after serving 13 and a half years – less 699 days during serving the sentence.
During the trial, Garnier repeatedly talked to the jury that he did not remember using a large green container to dispose of the body near the bridge, where he remained undiscovered for nearly five days.
Garnier also claimed that Campbell had accidentally died during the coarse sex that had begun after that evening he met at the bar in the city center.