Councillor Searle says drinking doesn't affect his work; some constituents disagree
Published Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:47PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 30, 2014 10:20PM EDT
Some constituents in the Loyola district of NDG say it’s time for councillor Jeremy Searle to leave office, just six months after he was elected, due to his issues with alcohol.
The assertion comes after Searle admitted to CTV he has a drinking problem, though he said his drinking has no impact on his work as an elected official.
When CTV Montreal reporter Derek Conlon met Searle Wednesday morning, he was sitting on the stairs in front of his NDG home, intermittently strumming a guitar.
The purpose of the interview was to address allegations that Searle attends city council under the influence of alcohol. Searle readily admitted he has a drinking problem.
“Absolutely. yes. I am on a medically ordained program of a bit of alcohol from time to time so as to avoid things seizures, heart attacks, that sort of stuff, right? But, it does not affect my work,” he said.
When asked if he drinks prior to city council meetings, he was adamant: “Of course not. Why would I?”
When asked if he had had a drink prior to the CTV interview Wednesday morning, he also said: “No, not yet.”
Searle insisted he's not an alcoholic but instead said that he has drunk too much for more than 40 years.
This latest admission caps a tough month for Searle. He first landed in hot water for his comments comparing separatists to bug, saying they should be eradicated.
Then again this week, he was reprimanded for suggesting Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has a problem with his brain.
Searle had asked the mayor a question about the Decarie Tunnel, to which the mayor answered by demanding Searle apologize to council for his comments about separatists.
The remark about the mayor led to an angry reply, Coderre telling Searle that if he continued to trivialize, he would not have place in city council.
After Searle's admission that he has a drinking problem, the mayor was asked if Searle should remain in council.
Coderre refused to answer directly.
“If he had something personal that he's living with, it is a tragedy, but he has to take care of himself,” said the mayor.
At a local barbershop in searle's district, opinions about whether Searle should continue as city councillor are mixed.
“If you have a drinking problem, I think it affects your work, I think so,” said barber Zack Baldas.
“I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at the moment,” said NDG resident Ted Brodie.
“I don’tthink someone that has a drinking problem should be in politics,” said another resident.
“That's a big problem especially for the councillor, you know? For the people working for the government that's a big problem,” said NDG business owner Li Nan Kan.
Searle maintains his problem has no impact on his work
“I'm not aware of any impairment of my ability to do my job,” he said.