Taking on an incumbent MP can be daunting, but it’s not an unfamiliar role for Frances Litman, who has always seen herself in the role of underdog.
“When you talk about how has your life experience affected you, I suppose somewhere deep in my soul I saw myself as an underdog and related to those less privileged,” said Litman, 53.
An Island resident since age two, she grew up in Saanich and attended Reynolds secondary before moving to Esquimalt.
High school was a time of profound and life-altering change for Litman. She landed a job with the Times Colonist and by graduation was living on her own after losing her parents to health issues.
“It’s made me very … well, I’ve never had anyone to rely on. It makes you very determined to make a success of yourself because there’s no one really to give you a leg up. I’ve worked very hard because I guess there’s that underlying fear that I don’t want to be homeless.”
Litman went to both Camosun and UVic, studying business administration and applied communications, then took a year-long photography course.
“That really piqued my interest and I started my own business,” said Litman, who ran her photo studio during the day and worked for the newspaper at night. Eventually, she gained the confidence to leave the security of a regular paycheque behind and focused on her photography business. It was her connection with the underdog that spurred Litman’s involvement with environmental causes and eventually the Green Party. “My underdog became the environment when I discovered that less than three per cent of all charitable giving goes to environmental charities,” she saId.
About five years ago Litman began Creatively United For the Planet, an Earth Week festival dedicated to empowering individuals and communities to take better care of the Earth. The festival raised her profile among environmental organizations, and the Green Party came calling earlier this year asking her to become a candidate.
“I thought if I can make a difference that can finally affect policy and make the changes we need to move forward so we do have a world worth living in, then I’m willing to do that,” she said.