Former MLA and MP Frank Howard passes away

A former MLA and MP for the area has passed away.

Frank Howard was living in Surrey at the time of his death on March 15. He was 85.

A logger by profession and active in the International Woodworkers of America, eventually becoming president of Local 1-71, Howard ran unsuccessfully in the provincial Skeena riding for the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), which was the predecessor party to the NDP, in 1952. He was elected the following year and defeated in 1956.

Howard was then elected as the MP for the federal riding of Skeena in the 1957 federal election, beginning a 17-year parliamentary career.

He lost in 1974 but returned to politics as the provincial representative for the Skeena riding in 1979. Howard was re-elected in 1983 and retired from active politics after being defeated in 1986.

During his time in Ottawa, Howard championed for the right to vote for aboriginal people who lived on reserves. He also worked to change divorce laws and worked for reform in prisons.

Born in the Kootenays, Howard had a difficult childhood. His mother was a prostitute and it was said that his father was her pimp.

Placed into foster care, Howard lacked a steady home life and at the age of 18 he was convicted of armed robbery and spent two years in prison. He was released in 1945.