Outgoing NDP MP Peter Stoffer, collector of hats and friends, packs up

Veteran Nova Scotia Member of Parliament Peter Stoffer is packing up his office after nearly 20 years on Parliament Hill.

Filled wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with a collection of political memorabilia, buttons and more than 8,000 hats, the office looks like a scene from an episode of Hoarders.

But what the outgoing New Democrat was really good at collecting was friends of all political stripes.

READ MORE: ‘Just wasn’t meant to be.’ NDP hopeful shocked by Nova Scotia losses

While Global News was paying a visit, a former Liberal cabinet minister was among those who stopped by.

For Stoffer, who was first elected in 1997, politics was a friendly game. He even had kind words for former Conservative MP Rob Anders, whom Stoffer called a “d–khead” after Anders’ suggested NDP leader Tom Mulcair hastened the death of late NDP leader Jack Layton.

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“If you strip away the veneer of the politics of it, they’re really, really decent people deep down — even Rob Anders who I called, famously, a d–khead on TV.”

Despite his popularity over the years, Stoffer says he was a victim of strategic voting in this election.

“I got a phone call from a gentlemen, who was crying on the phone. He said, ‘Mr. Stoffer I have to confess. I had your sign on my lawn, but I voted for [Justin] Trudeau to get [Stephen] Harper out of there.'”
Stoffer treasured his role, for years, as Veterans Affairs critic.

“I woke up every day saying how can I help the next guy,” he said. He was born in the Netherlands and his family was liberated by Canadian soldiers during the Second World War. “I owed it to them. They liberated my parents. They gave us the life I have to live.”

Stoffer doesn’t blame Mulcair for the NDP’s poor performance on election night, when the party won just 44 seats, and doesn’t think he should step down as the party’s leader.

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But Stoffer does think the party should rebrand itself the Democratic Party and sever its connections to the labour movement.

READ MORE: Former MP Peter Stoffer proposes name change for NDP

“If you’re going to be a truly democratic party, you should be a truly democratic party for everyone, not just a perceived perception to one group of people.”

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