by Frances Litman
Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke Green Party Candidate
(Colwood – East Sooke – Jordan River – Metchosin – Otter Point – Shirley – View Royal)
I’ve seen the world through every lens imaginable in my 25-year career as a professional photographer and journalist, and I was privy to every news wire service imaginable, many the public never saw. My hope was that by presenting images, information and ideas I could help readers understand their world. Now, a new understanding of that world has led me to a radical life change.
That new place is in a role I never saw for myself… as political candidate running for the Green Party in the next federal election.
Why put my career on hold and embrace a new path that consists of 18-hours days filled with meetings, public appearances, interviews and door-knocking? Why spend thousands of hours auditioning for a role I may never get to play?
Why? Because I share the anger, fear and frustration of neighbours, friends and fellow Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life. A deep concern over the state of our democracy, our economy and our planet.
Every day media is filed with stories of how government is gambling away our future by committing to natural resource extraction and short-sighted deals that will destroy the environment while holding future generations to ransom. And this tired source extraction obsession does not even provide sustainable jobs while stifling innovation and productivity.
Worse still, we are losing even the basic right of free speech. Anyone brave enough to protest is marginalized as an eco-freak”, “tree hugger”, or “dissident” or threatened with imprisonment as a “terrorist” through Bill C-51.
Bill C-51 puts us squarely on the path of authoritarian and non-democratic regimes such as the military junta ruling Thailand, under which “the mildest of protests are illegal.” (source) While we are busy making ends meet and being distracted by the latest electronic bubble, our basic human rights are being stolen.
Is it hopeless? I think not. However, non-voters are allowing this downward spiral to continue by not raising their voices. We’ve seen it all too often.
Our current federal government is counting on confusion, fear and a collective sense of learned helplessness to win again and further implement their regime.
The date more than 37,000 public service jobs have been cut, 2,000 scientists and researchers silenced or fired, 64 vital social organizations defunded. Libraries, archives and even Stats Canada have been closed or gutted.
Electoral boundaries have changed and renamed adding to the confusion. New rules have been implemented around who can vote and what constitutes proper identification. A fair voting system featuring proportional representation continues to allude Canadians, and unsubstantiated fear-mongering around vote-splitting has replaced informed debate.
Should we throw up our hands and say, “what’s the point?,” or start discussing a way forward with friends, families and neighbours.
So what gives me hope? Elizabeth May and the Green Party.
I chose the Green Party because they have a realistic and workable plan to free us from the status quo and deliver us into the 21st century with a long-term vision to benefit generations to come. It’s called Vision Green. (visiongreen.ca).
The Green Party is known internationally for working across party lines in favour of doing what’s best for constituents. I have a signed contract that will allow me, if elected, to vote my conscious in the best interests of those I represent. Greens are bound to refuse funding from big business, must publicly post all expenses, show respect for others in Parliament and commit to holding regular town hall meetings in their ridings.
Elizabeth May has been named one of the World’s Most Influential Women and is well-respected by other MP’s from all the other parties and awarded Parliamentarian of the Year (2012), Hardest Working MP (2013) and Best Orator in Parliament (2014) by her peers for good reason.
And that is why I am proud to put my name forward as a Green Party candidate. If it was just about power and money I wouldn’t bother. I believe it’s about offering Canadians choices that make people and our planet the priority. Collectively, we all win when that trumps our current system.