Peter Stoffer

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Peter Arend Stoffer
Peter Stoffer.jpg
Stoffer in the spring of 2007 at Lockview High School, Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Sackville—Eastern Shore
In office
June 28, 2004 – October 19, 2015
Preceded by Riding Established
Succeeded by Darrell Samson
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore
In office
June 2, 1997 – June 28, 2004
Preceded by Riding Established
Succeeded by Riding Abolished
Personal details
Born (1956-01-06) January 6, 1956 (age 59)
Heerlen, Limburg, Netherlands
Political party New Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Andrea Pottyondy
Residence Fall River, Nova Scotia
Profession Manager

Peter Arend Stoffer (born January 6, 1956) is a Canadian politician, who represented the riding of Sackville—Eastern Shore or its redistributed equivalents from the 1997 election until his defeat in the 2015 election. A member of the New Democratic Party, Stoffer served as the Official Opposition Critic for Veterans Affairs after his party became the official opposition after the 2011 election.

Stoffer is a populist and has been an advocate of Third Way policies championed by Tony Blair. He was affiliated with the internal party reform group NDProgress that successfully pushed the NDP to adopt a 'one member, one vote' system to choose its leader, and which has called for limits on union influence within the party.

Early life[edit]

Stoffer was born in Heerlen, Netherlands in 1956 and emigrated with his family to Canada the same year.[1] His father worked in the coal mines, but after the mines closed down in 1956, Stoffer's family decided to move to Canada. His father became a mail carrier, his mother was a nurse and later they ran a group home for disabled youth. Stoffer is a former airline employee and union activist who was also vocal on environmental issues.

Federal politics[edit]

In the 1997 election, Stoffer won his seat, Sackville—Eastern Shore, by 39 votes.[2] Subsequently, however, he increased his margin of victory, in the 2004 election, his plurality was over 6,000 votes. In 2006, he took 53 per cent of the vote, the second placed candidate was over 12,000 votes behind. He was the only Nova Scotia NDP Member of Parliament elected in 1997 to have retained his seat, other than McDonough.

Stoffer represented the redistributed riding of Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore after the 2000 election. After the 2003 election, he was re-elected as an MP in an electoral district again renamed to Sackville—Eastern Shore.

During the 2003 NDP leadership convention, Stoffer was the campaign co-chair to Lorne Nystrom, a former long serving NDP MP from Saskatchewan. Days before the leadership convention, Stoffer let it be known to the media that his second ballot intention was to move to support Manitoba MP Bill Blaikie. At the convention, Toronto city councillor Jack Layton was elected on the first ballot.

MP under Layton[edit]

Stoffer has been critical of MPs who cross the floor and has repeatedly introduced a private member's bill banning floor-crossing by Members of Parliament. His proposal, requiring MPs who leave their party to either resign and contest a by-election or sit as independents, was included in a list of demands issued by NDP leader Jack Layton in October 2005, in exchange for continued NDP support of the Liberal minority government. After David Emerson's controversial decision to cross the floor, he has revived this idea.

In 2006 Stoffer withdrew his own private member's bill aimed at preserving Canada's neglected heritage lighthouses, in order to support similar legislation, Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act introduced by Conservative Senator Pat Carney.[3]

In the federal election of 2008, Stoffer received 24,290 votes or 61.5 per cent of the total votes cast. He was more than 16,000 votes ahead of the candidate in second place.[4]

In 2010, Maclean's magazine named him "Most Collegial" in its annual Parliamentarians of the Year awards.[5] This was the second consecutive year that Stoffer received the award, which is voted on by fellow MPs.[6]

MP under Mulcair[edit]

In 2012, Stoffer attracted controversy when he called Conservative MP Rob Anders "a complete dickhead" following comments Anders made insinuating that NDP leader Thomas Mulcair helped hasten the death of former NDP leader Jack Layton. Stoffer apologized to Anders the next day, calling his comments unparliamentary.[7] In 2013, Stoffer was named Canada's Parliamentarian of the Year by his peers in the seventh annual survey of Canada's 305 sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Maclean's in partnership with Historica Canada and L'Actualité, and is designed to honour the public service of Canada’s parliamentarians.

In January 2015, Stoffer declared his support for a Maritime union of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, saying that a union would lower the cost of government services by standardizing laws and regulations.[8]

Stoffer was the Official Opposition Critic for Veterans' Affairs. He is a former critic for Fisheries and Oceans, Shipbuilding, Seniors, Amateur Sport, Canada Post Corporation, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and National Defence. In Ottawa on Parliament Hill, Stoffer has been consistently voted "Most Fun MP to work for" by The Hill Times newspaper, and is known for the "All Party, Party" – a non-partisan fundraiser for various charities.

Out of the commons[edit]

Stoffer was defeated in the 2015 election as the Liberal party swept all the Atlantic Canada ridings.[9] After his defeat, Stoffer proposed a number of changes for the NDP, including changing its name to the "Democratic Party," disaffiliating the federal and provincial NDP parties, and removing the influence of the Canadian Labour Congress on the party.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Stoffer lives in Fall River, Nova Scotia with his wife Andrea, his two daughters (Jasmin and Amber) and his dogs Angel and Buddy. On May 6, 2015, Stoffer received the Dutch honour of Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau.[1]


  1. ^ a b "The Gargoyle: Lawyers, knights and hippy moms". Ottawa Citizen. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "NDP rookie Stoffer rides wild comeback". The Chronicle Herald. June 3, 1997. Archived from the original on February 12, 2001. Retrieved 2014-09-29. 
  3. ^ 'Lighthouse Bill Protecting Our Lighthouses — The Icons of Canada's Maritime Heritage' Canadian Heritage Foundation Featured Heritage Buildings by Douglas Franklin
  4. ^ "40th General Election". Elections Canada. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  5. ^ Most Collegial: Peter Stoffer — Canada — (2010)
  6. ^ Most Collegial: Peter Stoffer — Canada — (2009)
  7. ^ Radia, Andy. "Yahoo! News — NDP MP Peter Stoffer lashes out at colleague Rob Anders’ ‘stupid’ Layton comments". Yahoo! News. Yahoo! News. Retrieved October 2, 2012. 
  8. ^ Wright, Teresa (23 January 2015). "NDP MP Peter Stoffer supports Maritime union". The Charlottetown Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Wylad, Adrian (26 October 2015). "Former East Coast MP Peter Stoffer proposes new name, other changes for NDP". CTV News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 

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