There was a heated exchange at Montreal City Hall Monday afternoon that had Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre pointing and yelling with fury as he demanded an apology from independent councillor Jeremy Searle.

Searle asked a question about traffic during a council meeting. Before responding, Coderre demanded Searle apologize for a comment he made about Quebec separatists after the outcome of the provincial election.

At a Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough council meeting earlier this month, Searle had compared the Quebec sovereignty movement to the Emerald ash borer beetle — saying it could be eradicated.

Rather than respond to the mayor's request for an apology, Searle accused Coderre of failing to listen to his question and then continued with a fresh insult.

“He has a brain problem,” Searle said about the mayor. 

That prompted a furious response from Coderre.

Nearly shaking with anger, Coderre said he has fought his entire life against intolerance.

“If you continue to trivialize this, you will not have a place in this chamber,” Coderre said, adding that making comments against sovereignists or federalists is unacceptable.

Eventually, Searle apologized for his comments and apologized to Coderre.