Loyola district councillor Jeremy Searle “had a riot” learning he has a Twitter account he didn’t open, which he says would explain the Twitter emails he has been receiving.
It’s undeniable. The @JeremySearle account reads “Political Activist.” The photo could be a selfie, probably dating back at least a couple of years. It shows the councillor standing up against a rocky mountain backdrop. It’s a warm, sunny day around noon. He’s wearing a green sleeveless t-shirt and is looking at the camera.
During an interview on March 24, Searle chuckled when he heard he has Twitter followers. He replied he couldn’t possibly have set it up, and wouldn’t even know how to find it. “Sometimes, I can’t find my own socks, you know,” he said.
He put Marianne, his research assistant, on the phone. “Interesting! Twitter? Facebook? Maybe in 14 years from now, we’ll see. I just taught him how to use the Internet,” she chuckled.
Searle claims he is illiterate in terms of cyberspace technology and social networks.
The account has 11 followers, but it has no tweets and doesn’t follow anyone else.
Searle calls it a “sabotage account.” “Well, there’s nasty stuff floating on the Internet. If you Google me, you’ll find a bunch of lies printed on the Google stuff.”
He also knows he has enemies. One of them is Robin Edgar, a blogger with 1885 Twitter followers who scorns censorship. “Do you believe everything that Jeremy Searle tells you?” he tweeted about Searle’s denial.
Elected as an independent with 23% of the vote on Nov. 3, the Loyola councillor has been dancing to the beat of his own drum, mainly on language and transportation issues.
At the last two Côte-des-Neiges-NDG borough council meetings he found himself in hot water over his comment that the predominance of French at the Montreal airport was the cause of its problems, and over demeaning comments he made about separatists. He issued an official apology this week.
Back in March, Searle also said
he felt “bullied” by Coderre and other councillors.
Then this week, on Apr. 28, Searle engaged in a war of words with Denis Coderre. The Montreal mayor refused to answer his question about the roadwork on the Decarie Expressway tunnel. Instead, he asked Searle to apologize in council for his demeaning remarks about separatists.
Searle protested and asked Coderre to apologize for changing the subject completely. The councillor was nearly expelled, eventually apologizing both to separatists and for violating the code of ethics that forces politicians to address each other with respect, after suggesting Coderre had a problem with his brain.
Then Tuesday, Searle was asked to leave council over inappropriate comments he made recently. Reporters asked him point blank if he was drunk, and if he drinks before council meetings. Searle first denied it, but later admitted to a reporter that he was addressing his drinking problem.
Back to the Twitter account – Searle said he wouldn’t know how to close it.
“In 1875, I fell into a peat bog and I’ve just been revived. And I’m one of the ordinary gentlemen from the Victorian era and I kind of like it that way,” he concluded.