08/29/2018 13:02 EDT | Updated 08/29/2018 13:02 EDT

Veterans Affairs Canada Draws Outrage After Paying For Convicted Murderer's PTSD Treatment

Christopher Garnier's father is a veteran who has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan
Christopher Garnier arrives at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Nov. 21, 2017.

HALIFAX — Political outrage is building following a decision by Veterans Affairs Canada to pay for the PTSD treatment of a Halifax man convicted of strangling an off-duty police officer and using a compost bin to dispose of her body.

Nova Scotia's interim Progressive Conservative leader has issued a statement saying she's "outraged" by the federal department's decision to help Christopher Garnier.

Seeing a private psychologist

Karla MacFarlane says it's a "slap in the face" to veterans who have served the country, adding that Garnier's case should be handled by the federal Justice Department and not Veterans Affairs.

Garnier was convicted in December of second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body in the September 2015 death of 36-year-old Catherine Campbell, an off-duty Truro police officer.

At a court hearing this month, Crown lawyer Christine Driscoll confirmed Garnier is being seen by a private psychologist, and that Veterans Affairs is covering the cost because his father is a veteran who has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Federal Conservatives are also voicing opposition to Veterans Affairs' decision.

In a tweet, Conservative critic Phil McColeman called on Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan to "please step in now and address this outrage," while Conservative MP Erin O'Toole called the department's help for Garnier an "outrage of the highest order."

Earlier this month, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge decided Garnier would be able to apply for parole after serving 13.5 years — less 699 days for time served.

Garnier's lawyer has argued his client's mental illness was brought on by the murder.

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