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Sen. Brazeau committed breach of trust, RCMP alleges

The RCMP has laid out its case against Sen. Patrick Brazeau, claiming the suspended member of the upper chamber committed breach of trust by filing inappropriate housing and travel claims.
The RCMP has laid out its case against Sen. Patrick Brazeau, claiming the suspended member of the upper chamber committed breach of trust by filing inappropriate housing and travel claims. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The RCMP has laid out its case against Sen. Patrick Brazeau, claiming the suspended member of the upper chamber committed breach of trust by filing inappropriate housing and travel claims.

The allegations contained in court documents filed in Ottawa Thursday follow those against Senators Mike Duffy and Mac Harb, who are also facing RCMP investigations.

Brazeau, a former Conservative senator, claimed he lived in Maniwaki, Que. and collected expenses for a secondary residence in Gatineau, says the document from RCMP officer Greg Horton.

“The investigation has shown that Brazeau does not live in Maniwaki, nor does he own a home there,” wrote Horton.

“Brazeau’s father resides in Maniwaki, but the Senator, since being appointed to the Senate, has not. As such I do not believe that Brazeau’s primary residence is in Maniwaki, causing him to have to travel to Ottawa for Senate business, thereby incurring additional costs for a secondary residence.”

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Senators who live more than 100 kilometres from Ottawa can claim travel expenses and up to a $22,000 housing allowance for a secondary home in the capital.

The document, called an information to obtain a production order, asks for documents and data from the Senate such as Brazeau’s American Express corporate travel cards, mobile phone records, and attendance records, as part of the police investigation.

Brazeau has denied wrongdoing. The senator’s spokeswoman, Debby Simms, said she has not read the documents but Brazeau’s position has been that he followed the rules and the Senate treated him unfairly.

The police believe Brazeau may have started claiming a secondary residence allowance in April 2011, “possibly in an effort to alleviate some of the financial burden as a result of his marriage break up.”

According to the RCMP, the police investigation shows Brazeau lived with his wife in a house he owned when he was appointed to the Senate in 2008 until his marriage broke up after Christmas 2010.

He moved around to various places, including his father’s home in Maniwaki, and a few months later he rented a home in Gatineau, police say.

In March 2011, Brazeau signed a 27-month rental lease in Gatineau and filed a housing declaration with the Senate saying his primary residence was in Maniwaki and his secondary residence was Gatineau, according to the documents. Three months later, his girlfriend and her children moved in with him, police say.

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A former girlfriend told the RCMP she lived with him for 20 months after June 2011 and in that time Brazeau did not live in Maniwaki.

A Gatineau neighbour interviewed by the RCMP said Brazeau often worked from home, described him as a “home body,” and believed the house was his permanent residence.

The documents also say police will conduct further investigations into Brazeau’s income tax claims, regarding the use of his father-in-law’s on-reserve address between 2004 and 2008.

Brazeau is contesting an order by the Senate’s board of internal economy in May to pay back nearly $49,000 in housing claims. The money has started to come off his pay cheques. A Deloitte audit however concluded there was lack of clarity in the Senate regulations and guidelines when referring to primary and secondary residences.

The now-independent senator is facing assault and sexual assault charges stemming from a Feb. 7 incident at his Gatineau, Que. home. He has pleaded not guilty.

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