‘We’re Catherine’s voice’: Mother of murdered cop pleads with Ottawa to revoke benefits to her killer
Murdered cop Const. Catherine Campbell can’t speak for herself to condemn the Liberals letting veterans benefits continue going to her killer.
So her mother says she is speaking for her.
“We’re Catherine’s voice,” said Susan Campbell in an interview with Global News.
“Catherine’s gone and she can’t speak but she would be very unhappy with this. Catherine was the kind of person who had time for everyone and she was a caring person and a very kind person. Yes, we’re trying to speak for her and hopefully, we’re doing what she would want us to do in her memory.”
WATCH BELOW: Susan Campbell says giving veterans benefits to her daughter’s killer is ‘a wrong’ against her
Campbell and her husband, Dwight, arrived in Ottawa on Tuesday morning to meet with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, MPs and veterans as part of a push to get the veterans benefits going to her daughter’s murderer revoked.
Christopher Garnier was sentenced this past summer in the murder of Const. Catherine Campbell in Halifax in 2015.
Garnier, currently serving a life sentence, is receiving benefits through Veterans Affairs because he claims he got PTSD from murdering her.
Garnier never served in the Canadian Forces. His father, however, did, and that was the basis for Veterans Affairs allowing Garnier to receive those benefits.
WATCH BELOW: Veterans Affairs stands by decision to fund convicted murderer Christopher Garnier’s PTSD treatment
News of the decision emerged at Garnier’s sentencing this past summer and sparked a political uproar, with the Conservative hammering the government for answers on how the decision was allowed to stand.
Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan has continually argued answering questions about that would violate the privacy of Garnier’s father, a veteran.
Campbell said she doesn’t buy that.
“Not good enough,” she said.
WATCH BELOW: Christopher Garnier case continues to dominate Question Period
O’Regan announced last month that he would change the policy to prevent future veterans benefits being paid to family members of veterans if those family members are in provincial or federal prisons.
But that change does not apply retroactively, meaning Garnier will keep getting benefits even as other convicted relatives of veterans do not.
Campbell said she wrote a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office about a month ago explaining why she wanted Garnier to stop receiving the benefits and sharing how “dismayed and upset” the decision had made her family.
“I laid that out to him to see what his comment would be,” she said. “I have not received any comment or letter back from him.”
She also wrote two other letters, one to O’Regan and one to Sean Fraser, who represents the riding she and her husband live in.
O’Regan telephoned her while Fraser came to the couple’s home.
In both cases, Campbell said, their responses were the same.
WATCH BELOW: ‘My hands were around her neck’: Jury shown Christopher Garnier interrogation video
“The basic thing was privacy — can’t tell you anything because of privacy,” she said. “Privacy issues for the veteran and privacy issues for his son, and basically that’s what we heard.”
Neither she nor her husband are satisfied.
“This is terribly wrong,” she said, adding that the government is “falling short for victims as well as violence against women.”
“I don’t know how this government can condone giving this coverage to somebody who is not even a veteran and has brought this on by his own doing.”
The goal of the Campbells’ trip will be to make it clear the family views the Liberal handling of the case as unacceptable, particularly given veterans themselves face long wait times to get both approval for their benefit applications and to start receiving the benefits themselves.
“My message is this: Our daughter was a human being. This is about human beings,” she said. “Human beings deserve rights and we feel this government, with the Veterans Act and supporting the person who harmed our daughter, they’re not supporting the people. Anyone out there, write your MP. Stick up for your veterans.”
Campbell urged Canadians who share their concerns to make their voices heard.
“This definitely is a wrong against veterans, against victims and violence against women,” she said.
“And against our daughter.”
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