Skip to main content

Former federal and provincial politician Alan Webster Neill sits with his dog in a photo from 1955 at the age of 87.

HO/The Canadian Press

School trustees on Vancouver Island have voted to change the name of an elementary school named after a controversial former federal member of Parliament.

Alberni School District board members voted to remove Alan Webster Neill’s name from A.W. Neill elementary school.

The school board says it will form a committee to develop a list of possible new names for the school.

Story continues below advertisement

Webster Neill, who died in 1960, was a Port Alberni mayor, a member of the B.C. Legislature and a federal MP who represented the area in the House of Commons from 1921 to 1945.

He was known as an advocate of blue-collar workers, but was widely considered racist for his efforts to deny voting rights to Asian immigrants in the House of Commons, his support of anti-Chinese laws in the B.C. Legislature and his approval of Indigenous residential schools.

Port Alberni trustee Rosemarie Buchanan, who spearheaded the public effort to remove Webster Neill’s name from the school, says the decision comes after a public consultation.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies