Author Topic: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment  (Read 1490 times)

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Offline Jarnhamar

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VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« on: August 28, 2018, 12:16:28 »
Came across this in a news feed. I was going to place it in the VAC forum but thought it was too stupid to be placed there, not that VAC doesn't deserve a heap of ridicule for this.

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


Christopher Garnier is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder and indignity to a human body in the 2015 death of Truro, N.S., police officer Catherine Campbell while she was off duty. (CBC)

The decision by Veterans Affairs Canada to pay for the treatment for a Halifax man who never served in the military and got PTSD after murdering off-duty police officer Catherine Campbell is upsetting an advocate for veterans as well as a member of Campbell's family.

Christopher Garnier, 30, is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in the strangling of Campbell, 36, whose body was found in September 2015 near Macdonald Bridge in Halifax.

At trial, an expert for the defence testified Garnier developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the killing. At a sentencing hearing earlier this month, a Crown prosecutor told the court that Garnier's treatment is being paid for by Veterans Affairs because his father, Vince Garnier, is a veteran.



http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/christopher-garnier-ptsd-veterans-affairs-murder-1.4800695


I can't even articulate how stupid and bureaucratic this is.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2018, 12:51:45 »
Not to mention our Dear Leader told us we were asking for more than the government can give.
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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2018, 12:55:33 »
This cannot be accurate. He killed the police officer in 2015, lets say he was sentenced in 2016, then applied to VAC. VAC doesn't act that quickly for PTSD claims.
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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2018, 12:58:14 »
Stop this big spinning rock for a few minutes, I want off.  :facepalm:
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Offline ExRCDcpl

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2018, 17:28:27 »
This cannot be accurate. He killed the police officer in 2015, lets say he was sentenced in 2016, then applied to VAC. VAC doesn't act that quickly for PTSD claims.

Apparently they do if you’re a cop killer struggling with what you did.

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2018, 09:38:32 »
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-e-mails-reveal-how-veterans-affairs-sought-to-explain-ptsd-treatment/

E-mails reveal how Veterans Affairs sought to explain PTSD treatment for man who killed police officer - 20 Dec 18

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. E-mails 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 e-mails 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 e-mail 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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Offline Brihard

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2018, 11:05:55 »
From the start there has been a lot of critical thinking *not* happening on this subject. I'll say right off the hop that the notion of this guy - a cop killer - getting VAC services for his mental health profoundly disgusts me on a personal level for obvious reasons.

But...

He didn't get services from VAC for killing a cop. He got services from VAC because his father is a veteran receiving treatment services. VAC has recognized, finally, that when a veteran deals with PTSD or other operational stress injuries, that can wreak havoc on the family. You don't just keep that stuff in a nice airtight ox. It spills over and can do a real number on your family members. VAC also recognizes that this can be a source of tremendous guilt for that person. I can say from firsthand experience that all of this, so far, is true. VAC has therefore extended mental health services to the immediate family of veterans affected by those veterans' service related injuries/illnesses. That's entirely appropriate, compassionate and forward thinking.

VAC likes to say 'no' to stuff, so it looks like the policies applicable to this were worded quite generously in favour of providing those mental health services to veterans' families. An entitlement to mental health treatment for these vicarious mental health exposures was entrenched in the VAC bureaucracy. And that's pretty damned awesome. I have friends whose kids have received psychological services because Dad has PTSD or anxiety or something. It's great for the family, it's great for the veteran.

Unfortunately what we have here is a truly horrendous case where, by coincidence, someone who is rightly the beneficiary of family mental health services through VAC also happens to be the brutal murderer of a police officer. And it looks like at the time this became a thing, VAC simply was not equipped with the necessary policy or regulations to allow them to cut off access to services for the individual in these circumstances.

This wasn't anything malicious or stupid on the government's part. Obviously nobody in the policy crafting process stopped and said "Hey, what if someone who is receiving these services commits a heinous criminal offense? How would that look?" There's really no reason they would have. It's that 'what if?' that never really happens - but in this case did.

The benefits and services in play here are excellent ones. They're compassionate, well founded, and designed to help the family of struggling veterans to deal with the horrendous stuff their family member may have brought home. We really, really don't want VAC to be throwing out the baby with the bathwater on this one.

Unfortunately, anyone within the department who had stood up and defended the program on its merits and explained logically why this came to be would have been immediately and loudly shouted down and derided by a bunch of partisan hacks and whiny vetflakes who won't read anything longer than a tweet and won't look critically at the facts of a situation. Because my God, the amount of stupid stuff I saw being said on this one was mind blowing. So many people wanted to see the policies that exist to protect veterans just completely disregarded and thrown out because They're Offended.

My understanding is that they did find a way to adjust things to allow for revocation of benefits in extreme cases such as this, but I'm damned glad they took their time, and I'm not the least bit surprised that they recognized a no-win storm of pure poop for what it is.
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2018, 12:41:13 »
He didn't get services from VAC for killing a cop. He got services from VAC because his father is a veteran receiving treatment services. VAC has recognized, finally, that when a veteran deals with PTSD or other operational stress injuries, that can wreak havoc on the family. You don't just keep that stuff in a nice airtight ox. It spills over and can do a real number on your family members. VAC also recognizes that this can be a source of tremendous guilt for that person. I can say from firsthand experience that all of this, so far, is true. VAC has therefore extended mental health services to the immediate family of veterans affected by those veterans' service related injuries/illnesses. That's entirely appropriate, compassionate and forward thinking.

The highlighted part in your post is where you lose me on this one.  He is not being treated because of his father's (the veteran) service related injuries.  He is claiming PTSD for his actions that led to the murder of the off duty Truro police officer, Catherine Campbell. 

Unless I completely missed it along the line, there was never any indication/information that this was because of his fathers service related injury/illness.

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2018, 12:44:49 »
The highlighted part in your post is where you lose me on this one.  He is not being treated because of his father's (the veteran) service related injuries.  He is claiming PTSD for his actions that led to the murder of the off duty Truro police officer, Catherine Campbell. 

Unless I completely missed it along the line, there was never any indication/information that this was because of his fathers service related injury/illness.

That's how I thought it was also......he claimed he got the PTSD from her murder, and being the Son of a service member got him his benefits.

EDIT: from the first post......At trial, an expert for the defence testified Garnier developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the killing. At a sentencing hearing earlier this month, a Crown prosecutor told the court that Garnier's treatment is being paid for by Veterans Affairs because his father, Vince Garnier, is a veteran.

« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 12:47:27 by Bruce Monkhouse »
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Offline Brihard

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2018, 15:35:37 »
Sorry gents, I'm digging further into this, bear with me.

First- I put little weight into exactly how it was presented at trial. I have no faith that anyone involved in the trial is up to speed in specifically how VAC administers benefits. I think it's necessary for us to look at the actual applicable policies and to infer some things. Fromw hat was said by those involved coupled with reading the actual VAC policy, I'm interpreting it as he was receiving mental health benefits because his father is a veteran with service related disabilities; not necessarily that they have claimed or inferred that those service related disability can be directly attributed as the cause for which numbnuts has himself now been diagnosed with PTSD.

Mental health for family members is covered under VAC Program Of Choice 12 - Mental Health. http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-us/policy/document/1104#anchor45310

Looking through it and parsing what it actually says, it doesn't actually state anywhere that the mental health needs of a family member need to be connected specifically to the service related disability. Which makes sense- that's exactly the kind of 'fine print' that worthwhile claims would be denied on and that people would quite rightly get up in arms about. It basically suffices under the policy I read it hat a veteran receiving rehabilitation services would be further helped by their immediate family receiving mental health care. It allows for the fact that a veteran's disability has a lot of impacts on the family, which may not be easy to actually define in terms of concrete causation. It's a pretty permissive policy, so far as I read it. Which again, is a good thing 99% of the time.

This, obviously, is not 99% of the time. I think a well meaning case worker was probably interpreting the policy about as generously as they could, and didn't apply a sniff test to this. The policy seems to allow for extension of mental health treatment benefits to family so long as it will help with the veteran's rehabilitation. We have here an extreme rare instance of a reductio ad absurdum brought to life.

We on the sidelines are of course hamstrung in that we can only infer, deduce, and speculate, because the specifics are shielded (quite rightly) by the privacy act.

So again, it does sound like they were able to 'fix' this in the sense that this particular individual no longer receives these benefits through VAC (though he likely gets similar treatment through Correctional Services of Canada), and they did so in a way that does not compromise an important and well meaning program as a whole. But the 'how?' of this coming to pass simply cannot be properly understood from a surface look at it. There were no clean or easy answers to give, and so of course the bureaucracy struggled when what was sought and needed was a clean, easy answer.
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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2018, 17:00:52 »
I think I see where you're going now;  helping the son might also 'help the veteran' in his treatment.  That I could understand - if the veteran is not benefitting from his direct treatment, this would be indirectly good for the veteran.

Looking at it from that angle, it certainly makes it *somewhat* palatable (for me at least).
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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2018, 17:01:34 »
My question is why do we pay to help murderers like this at all ? 

I get it, they will one day be re-released back into society and we need to try and make them as productive members as possible.  But my heart and my guts say this is ridiculous, if we cant put him down he should left to the mental torture he claims to be going though that is PTSD.  I don't give a crap how tough his mental state is now.

I know whats right, I guess, but I don't like it.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2018, 17:11:58 »
I think I see where you're going now;  helping the son might also 'help the veteran' in his treatment.  That I could understand - if the veteran is not benefitting from his direct treatment, this would be indirectly good for the veteran.

Looking at it from that angle, it certainly makes it *somewhat* palatable (for me at least).

Yup- like I said I have buddies whose dependents have received this benefit. Properly applied, it’s a good service. Good for the veteran, good for the family. This... individual is merely the fortunate beneficiary of a service not at all intended for cases like his.
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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2018, 17:16:13 »
Yup- like I said I have buddies whose dependents have received this benefit. Properly applied, it’s a good service. Good for the veteran, good for the family. This... individual is merely the fortunate beneficiary of a service not at all intended for cases like his.

And with the stroke of a pen it could be undone for this poor unfortunate cop killer... but it's not.  Utter bullshit. Know what wouldn't make my mental well being any better? Knowing my kid was a murderous piece of crap and getting money wasted on him that could help people worth redeeming. But, that's just me, I guess.
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2018, 17:42:04 »
And with the stroke of a pen it could be undone for this poor unfortunate cop killer... but it's not.  Utter bullshit. Know what wouldn't make my mental well being any better? Knowing my kid was a murderous piece of crap and getting money wasted on him that could help people worth redeeming. But, that's just me, I guess.

You’re well behind the ball on this one, because they did that. It was more than just the ‘stroke of a pen’, but without compromising the benefit as a whole, they sorted out this individual case.
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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2018, 18:20:22 »
You’re well behind the ball on this one, because they did that. It was more than just the ‘stroke of a pen’, but without compromising the benefit as a whole, they sorted out this individual case.

Justice truly served, then, but that doesn't negate the absolute stupidity of this idea being entertained in the first place.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 18:27:40 by Kat Stevens »
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

“In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage.”

 Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats

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Re: VAC pays for non-veteran cop killers PTSD treatment
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2019, 11:14:46 »
It should not of been a broad blanket that he received coverage under,
In reality, his CM should of said, "wait a minute here, this is a cause of stress, however, it is your sons own doing, and we need to focus your treatment on that path."

HAs his father come forward with any statement about this?
I do not think its an abuse of treatment benefits by any means, but it is pure and utter bullshit that resources are directed this way, when there are a tonne of other veterans requiring direct treatment that are missing out due to time and effort spent on this.
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