Taking on an incumbent MP can be a daunting task, but it’s not an unfamiliar role for Frances Litman. The Green Party candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke has always seen herself in the role of underdog.
“I’ve always sided with the underdog,” said Litman, 53. “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 that were less privileged.”
Litman has called the island home since the age of two, growing up in Saanich where she went to Reynolds Secondary, before moving to Esquimalt where she started Frances Litman Photography.
High school was a time of profound and life-altering change for Litman. She landed a job with the Times Colonist while still in high school, 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, before taking a year-long photography course at Western Academy.
Eventually, she gained the confidence to leave the security of a regular paycheque behind and left the job to focus on her photography business full time.
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.