MacNeill, A.H. (1865-1938)

Albert Howard MacNeill acted as the legal representative of the passengers of the Komagata Maru during the last week they were in Vancouver. He was born in Belfast, Prince Edward Island and was well known as a corporate lawyer who for many years represented the Great Northern Railway. He was J. Edward Bird’s law partner and, unlike Bird, a Conservative in federal politics. At the time of the Komagata Maru he was president of the Vancouver Bar Association and belonged to an influential circle of lawyers with powerful connections—his successor as president of the association was Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper who had a been a law partner in Halifax with Sir Robert Borden, the prime minister, and also a cabinet minister under Borden. MacNeill assumed a critically important role in the latter stages of the Komagata Maru affair in Vancouver, and sent a personal cable to Conservative Prime Minister Borden to caution him to get an independent assessment of the situation and not to rely exclusively on what he was being told by immigration officials.

Sources: Library and Archives Canada, Immigration Files, RG 76. Frank Leonard, “Railroading a Renegade: Great Northern Ousts John Hendry in Vancouver, B.C. Studies, no 155, Autumn 2007; “Charles Hibbert Tupper, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. X, 1921-30.