Sen. Patrick Brazeau receives an annual $20,000 taxpayer-subsidized housing allowance for claiming his principle residence is in Maniwaki, Que., but other residents tell CTV News they’ve rarely seen him there.

Senators are entitled to the annual allowance if their principal residence is at least 100 kilometres outside Ottawa, and Maniwaki is 130 kilometres from the capital.

Brazeau, who has one of the worst attendance records in the Red Chamber, moved into a Gatineau rental unit just across the river from Ottawa in March 2011.

He claims that even though he rents a house in Gatineau with his girlfriend, he still lives at his father’s house in his hometown of Maniwaki when the Senate is not sitting.

“I rent a house in Gatineau, but my principal residence is in Maniwaki,” Brazeau told CTV News.

When he was first appointed to the Senate, Brazeau did not collect the housing allowance because he owned a Gatineau home with his then wife.

CTV News travelled to Maniwaki, where residents said the only Brazeau living at the house in question is the senator’s father.

“Only the papa,” said the butcher, whose shop is directly across the street from the house, when asked who lives in the home.

The pastry shop owner said the senator does not live in his father’s home, while a restaurant owner said he only sees the younger Brazeau around “sometimes.” The local letter carrier has never delivered mail addressed to the senator at the home.

Family friend Gary Moore confirmed that, “No, Patrick doesn’t live in Maniwaki.”

A source close to Brazeau told CTV News that the senator has had financial difficulties since he split from his wife, despite an annual salary of $132,000.

He has also had a child support dispute with a separate woman, with whom he has a teenaged son.

The source said that over the holidays, Brazeau bakes and sells his own homemade meat pies at a Gatineau bar to make extra money.

With a report by CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife