Nova Scotia

Peter Stoffer not interested in running for federal NDP leadership

One of Nova Scotia's former MPs for the New Democratic Party says he has no interest in becoming part of the pool of candidates to replace Tom Mulcair, who was rejected as the leader of the federal party over the weekend.

'I have served my time,' says former MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore

Former New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer said he was surprised that the party members voted to find a new leader to replace Tom Mulcair. Stoffer said he has no plans to run for leader. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

One of Nova Scotia's former MPs for the New Democratic Party says he has no interest in becoming part of the pool of candidates to replace Tom Mulcair, who was rejected as the leader of the federal party over the weekend.

"I have absolutely no intention of running for leader," said Peter Stoffer, the former MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore.

"I have served my time and had a very good time doing it, but now it's time for me to move on to other things."

At the New Democratic Party's national convention this weekend, 52 per cent of the delegates voted in favour of launching a new leadership race.

As a rule, New Democrats test the confidence of party members in their federal leader at every biennial convention, but Mulcair's leadership had been in question since the fall election that saw the Liberals take many seats that were previously held by the NDP.

"There's no question about this, some people were still quite bitter about the loss in that regard," Stoffer told CBC's Information Morning on Monday.

Stoffer, who was at the convention in Edmonton, said he was surprised by the outcome of the leadership vote. He felt the room was split almost evenly on Mulcair's leadership, with about 300 to 400 people who were undecided.

"I think if he had given a barn burner of a speech then he may have swayed other people, but his speech — in all honesty — was fairly flat," Stoffer said.  

"People very clearly said that we wish to move to a different direction."

'No-win situation' 

Going into the convention, Mulcair was in a difficult position with the controversy over the proposed national oil pipeline.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley stood firm in her support of it, while others inside the party supported the Leap Manifesto — a statement of principles which, in part, questions the need for new infrastructure to transport fossil fuels.  

Mulcair had said he would oppose further development of oil resources if party members voted to take that position. 

"Now that you look at it in hindsight and you have a time to reflect, I think he was in a no-win situation," said Stoffer.   

Hunting for a new leader

The New Democrats gave themselves two years to find a new leader, and Mulcair indicated he would stay on until his successor is chosen.

Stoffer said he will still have some involvement with the NDP, but he's not sure what that role will be.  

"I'm enjoying retirement right now in many ways," he said.

With files from CBC Radio's Information Morning

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