When Peter Stoffer heard that Canadian Blood Services was planning to move its only New Brunswick location in Saint John to Dartmouth, N.S., he was concerned for his neighbours. “I’m the kind of person who never really likes robbing Peter to pay Paul,” says the NDP member for Sackville–Eastern Shore. Having heard the motion by Conservative MP for Saint John Rodney Weston asking for all-party support to convince CBS to keep the New Brunswick facility open, Stoffer picked up the phone. “I called Rodney to find out exactly what was going on.” Three days later, Stoffer was on a conference call with Mike Savage [Liberal MP for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour] and representatives from CBS.
Stoffer hasn’t made his mind up on how he’ll vote, but his cross-party, hands-on approach wins him popularity among his peers. And the jolly, Dutch-born 54-year-old is loved by his constituency: Stoffer routinely picks a random sampling of phone numbers in his riding and calls strangers for their opinions on issues that arise in the House.
Stoffer frequently gets answers for other MPs’ constituents, too. “I’ll get an email from someone having difficulty contacting their MP and I’ll go to their MP and say, ‘Here, this guy wants to be able to talk to you,’ ” says Stoffer. “I can guarantee you that phone call happens pretty fast.” Also known to tip off opponents to what he plans to ask in question period, to help them better prepare, Stoffer enjoys breaking down barriers. After more than a decade, he’s handing over the reins of his famous “All-Party Party” to Liberal MP Martha Hall-Findlay, but he will continue to oversee the all-party soccer team which, he boasts, recently welcomed a Bloc member into the fold for the first time in years. “It’s nice to cheer for Conservatives and Liberals and Bloc members when they do a good thing,” he says. “You know, on the soccer field.”