Frank Howard's mother was a prostitute; his father, purportedly her pimp. When he was six months old they placed him in the care of foster parents who never let him forget that he was the child of those "...no-good sons of bitches...".
At twelve he was committed by a judge to the care of the Childrens' Aid Society and taken to an orphanage in Vancouver. En route he was sexually molested by the policeman accompanying him. Dumped into the foster care circuit, he twice attempted suicide. He never finished grade ten. At eighteen he was sentenced to two years in the B.C. Penitentiary for armed robbery.
In From Prison to Parliament Howard describes those early years, his life in prison, and how, on finishing his sentence, he vowed never to return to crime. He never did.
He became a logger, then President of the Loggers' Local of the I.W.A. At twenty-eight he entered politics as a C.C.F. M.L.A. and went on to become the M.P. for the Northern B.C. riding of Skeena. He held that seat for seventeen years, longer than anyone else since its formation in 1914. During his twenty-seven years as a politician, he won ten elections.
Frank Howard was decidedly instrumental in getting Aboriginal people who lived on reserves the right to vote in federal elections. His three-year filibuster in the House of Commons produced reforms to Canada's divorce laws. His passion for prison reform led to the closure of Canada's barbaric Saint Vincent de Paul Penitentiary.
Blunt, tough, Frank Howard pulls no punches in describing some of his C.C.F./ N.D.P. fellow politicians. Reading From Prison to Parliament, it's easy to understand how his street smarts served his constituents, while at the same time infuriating other politicians.
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