Veterans Affairs to stop giving future benefits to family members in prison; Chris Garnier case unchanged
Veterans Affairs will no longer provide benefits to family members of veterans who are in federal or provincial prisons.
But that change does not mean convicted killer Christopher Garnier will stop getting them.
Garnier is serving a life sentence for the murder of a Halifax off-duty police officer in 2015 and claims he got PTSD from murdering her.
He has never served in the Canadian military but because his father did, Garnier is getting his treatments paid for by Veterans Affairs Canada.
“Going forward, treatment benefits will not be provided to a veterans’ family member who is incarcerated in a provincial or federal facility,” said Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan in a statement provided to Global News.
WATCH: Veterans Affairs Canada is standing by its decision to foot the bill for the post-traumatic stress disorder treatments of a convicted murderer who never served as member of the Canadian Forces, but whose father did.
“Those facilities would be responsible for the treatment of persons in their institutions. Correctional Services of Canada has a legislative mandate to provide every federal inmate with essential health care and reasonable access to mental health care that will contribute to rehabilitation.”
However, he appeared to confirm in a press conference after that announcement that the change will not impact the benefits currently going to Garnier.
“The policy is to provide scrutiny to all future decisions,” he said. “All future decisions will now have an elevated level of scrutiny.”
WATCH BELOW: Christopher Garnier case continues to dominate Question Period
That news comes just before a scheduled vote at 5:45 PM EST on a Conservative motion asking the Liberals to revoke benefits to Garnier.
Conservatives have hammered the government on the matter over the last month, demanding they step in to stop benefits going to Garnier because of his crime.
O’Regan has defended the policy repeatedly, saying answering questions about why Garnier was getting the benefits would jeopardize the privacy of his father, a veteran who has claimed getting his son PTSD treatment will help his own mental health.
In a submission to the sentencing judge in his son’s case earlier this year, Vince Garnier wrote that “neither Chris’ mom nor I have been able to return to work since September 16, 2015, the day of his arrest.”
“My own mental health has taken a bad turn,” he wrote.
He described the killing of 36-year-old Catherine Campbell only once as a “tremendously tragic event,” and said his son was experiencing “night terrors, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance and more.”
“It tears me apart knowing that my son has PTSD. I have been living with it for many years and know all too well its terrible effects,” he wrote.
“Someone that intends to kill another person does not get PTSD.”
Read the full submission to the judge below.
Global News has reached out to Garnier’s father for his reaction to the decision but has not received a response.
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