Paul Wells in conversation with Peter Stoffer

The NDP MP won the POTY award for most collegial

On Nov. 18, Maclean’s honoured the eighth annual Parliamentarians of the Year. NDP MP Peter Stoffer was voted most collegial. Check out the rest of the winners.

Peter Stoffer‘s first order of business when he meets anyone is to instruct them to forget his surname and, for that matter, any honorifics they might normally use in conversation with a parliamentarian. “My dad is Mr. Stoffer,” he says. “I’m just Peter.”

The long-serving New Democrat, originally from the Netherlands but now firmly entrenched in his Nova Scotia riding, is famous for just being so darn nice. He gives cabinet ministers a heads-up before question period and he jokes around with parliamentary pages. His storied corner of the Hill features a pool table and walls covered with ball caps. The rest of the opposition benches revel in the theatre of the place. They wouldn’t dare settle for a neutral exchange of questions and answers. Save for a couple of fellow office decorators—MP Ryan Leef, an MMA fighter, hangs a punching bag in his space; MP Jonathan Genest-Jourdain set up a model railroad—no one matches Stoffer’s welcoming interior.

Parliament’s nice guy was first elected in 1997. He has won five times since, and he hopes to win again. At a nomination meeting this month, the veteran New Democrat chose not to have just another party stalwart vouch for his candidacy. Instead Bill Casey, a former Conservative MP from a nearby riding, agreed to do it. “I asked him, and he said yes,” says Stoffer. Of course he did.

— Nick Taylor-Vaisey

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