Montreal city councillor speaks out after forced to leave council meeting

Watch: Tim Sargeant speaks with city councillor Jeremy Searle after he was forced to leave a council meeting

MONTREAL — A well-known and long-serving city councillor, Jeremy Searle, was asked to step down from the borough meeting Monday night for what’s being described as inappropriate behaviour.

Searle was forced to step down from the council meeting after borough mayor Russell Copeman insisted he leave.

Searle allegedly kissed fellow city councillor, Magda Popeanu, on the forehead.

That’s when the public was asked to leave, two police officers were called in, and Searle ordered to leave his seat.

The councillor at first objected but ultimately agreed. He was accused of being drunk during the council meeting.

WATCH: Raw video of Jeremy Searle being forced to leave council meeting

Searle responds

However, Searle is now going on the offensive, lashing out against Côte-des-Neiges–NDG borough mayor Russell Copeman.

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“He’s either addicted to alcohol, drugs or Denis Coderre,” Searle told Global News on Tuesday morning.

“One way or another he cannot keep himself in control.”

Searle admitted to kissing Popeanu, but argued Copeman was wrong to ask him to leave.

“He needs care, whether it’s drugs or alcohol, whatever he’s suffering from, he needs help.”

Searle said he had a couple of glasses of wine prior to the meeting, but maintained he wasn’t drunk.

Montreal city councillors Jeremy Searle and Marvin Rotrand at a council meeting in NDG on December 1, 2014. Martin Hazel/Global News

Fellow councillor Marvin Rotrand, who sat next to him during the entire evening, told Global News he suspected Searle had been drinking.

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“His speech was slurred and his answers to citizens were really quite odd,” Rotrand said.

This was not the first time Searle was forced to leave an official meeting due to inebriation.

In April, he was escorted out of the hall of honour at city hall for a private meeting with council speaker Franz Benjamin over remarks he made about Quebec separatists.

WATCH: Exchange between Jeremey Searle and Denis Coderre

Mayor Copeman reacts

Mayor Copeman released a statement about the incident, where he said he deplored the conduct of his colleague.

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“During the meeting, I noticed that Mr. Searle’s conduct was preventing the proper functioning of the  Borough Council meeting,” Copeman explained in the statement.

“I asked for an adjournment in order to discuss this unfortunate situation in private with my colleagues and council members. With their support, I asked Mr. Searle, once again in private, to remove himself from the borough council meeting, which he refused to do.

“After announcing this decision publicly, Mr. Searle refused to comply with our request,” he noted.

“I will never hesitate to take the proper measures to ensure the orderly conduct of our meetings,” Copeman added.


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