This post offers supplementary material for an article I recently wrote for Torontoist, which you should read before diving into this post.
|Oakville Journal Record, October 8, 1980. Click on image for larger version.|
|The Canadian Forum, April 1930.|
|Telegram, March 7, 1930. Click on image for larger version.|
The harassment Reverend H. Lawrence McNeil and his family received was among the depressing elements. Numerous threats prompted police protection. "It is not that I am the least intimidated by the message," he told the Star, "but my wife is quite nervous over the affair and it is best to see that adequate measures are taken."
Sample phone threat: "You have been talking too much of late and you are going to be stopped. Be prepared to have a call from us and we will leave our calling cards and symbol."
Crank calls continued for at least a week. “I am almost certain it is some dummy calling who wants to create a scare in the newspapers,” Mrs. McNeil later reflected.
|Toronto Star, March 11, 1930. Click on image for larger version.|
In a front page story in the March 6, 1930 edition of the Toronto Star, Toronto lawyer Harry Waldman criticized Kerr's actions. "If any offence had been committed that evening, surely when it reached the attention of the man who has been appointed to preserve law and order he should have investigated," Waldman observed. "And if he recognized the perpetrators of the alleged offence, as he is reported to have done, he should have immediately instituted charges against the offenders.
Kerr benefited financially from his bumbling handling of the case. In May 1930, he and constable J.W. Barnes asked for a salary increase "in recognition of their services." Their request was approved.
Additional material from Colour-Coded:A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 by Constance Backhouse (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) and the March 7, 1930 and March 11, 1930 editions of the Toronto Star.