The NDP leader sets her sights on all that’s possible, focusing her positive energy well beyond her quest to remain the MHA for St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi
You wouldn’t imagine what’s on Alison Coffin’s to-do list by running into her on the street, or in our case, catching up with her during a mid-afternoon skate around The Loop.
The NDP leader proves she’s ready for anything, including a bit of afternoon fun in the winter sun between campaign stops and door-to-door meet and greets.
She laughed. “I’m ready for anything, even an afternoon skate,” she opened. “A perk of campaigning in my district is that it includes The Loop. We said, let’s throw the skates in the car and if I ever have a spare moment, I’ll do it,” she said as she eagerly took in the moment.
But then going at the speed of light isn’t anything new for Coffin. She’s always been energetic.
“I played a lot of sports growing up. When I was in high school, I played volleyball and basketball and did track. And then as an adult, when I came into St. John’s, I got into some more organized sports. I was a bodybuilder. I’ve been a triathlete. I played ice hockey, football and softball and anything else I wanted to give a try,” she energetically shared.
Of course, Coffin isn’t tooting her own horn, but it is what it is, and when you have this much bubble and go in ya as she has, why not use it up!
“There’s a lot of fun things to be doing, though I don’t claim to be particularly good at any sport, I have a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm.”
That energy and enthusiasm is serving her well during this election.
As party leader, Coffin has to not only campaign in her own district, but split her time supporting the rest of her team, including incumbents Jordan Brown (Labrador West) and Jim Dinn (St. John’s Centre).
So far so good, she claimed.
“It’s going great,” she shared. “We’ve been very well received. People are very interested in having someone come to the door and oftentimes people are like, ‘wow, you’re the first politician ever to come to the door.’ So they appreciate the effort. They appreciate being able to talk to someone. And everyone is reassured by the fact that I’m pretty easy to talk to and I’m interested in supporting their ideas of what’s important for them.”
Coffin isn’t a political newbie. This is actually Coffin’s third election.
“I ran against Tom Osborne my first election, and that was a good race no matter the outcome. I wasn’t successful, but I learned the ropes. But the 2019 election, that was a bit of a whirlwind because of course I became leader and five weeks later I was into an election, but you know what? There’s almost two years under my belt and my caucuses is ready to go. We are incredibly well organized. The support has been phenomenal. We’re making headway and it feels really good.”
A fine crew
The NDP under Coffin has attracted many credible candidates. She’s proud of the diversity offered. More than 50 per cent of the party’s slate are women, for one thing.
“We’ve got a wonderful mix of age range and a lot of very different perspectives represented,” she says. “Just a fine crew to work with and support. And of course, Jim and Jordan are great. They’re wonderful. I’ve really enjoyed working with them along with all of these wonderful, wonderful candidates.”
Coffin calls her team “dynamic” and shared she’s “delighted with them all.”
One thing Coffin is looking forward to? Debating the other party leaders.
“It’s time consuming, and it’s all right because you have to prepare for that – you have to step up – but I’m very familiar with the issues and I listen when people are telling their stories … and I have a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not on the key issues.”
Representing the people
What is she hoping the outcome is, we ask. What’s the goal? There’s no hesitation.
“Well, the ultimate goal is to win the election. But I’m very comfortable doing that in incremental steps as we grow our party.”
Coffin shared she honours the will of the public. That’s what the democratic process is all about.
“Whatever the voters of Newfoundland and Labrador feel is appropriate for New Democrats, that I would be delighted with. I’d love to see a strong contingent of New Democrats in government – that might be as official opposition, or it could be as third party again – but I look forward to going back and representing the people as best we can.”
Stronger the voice
Any parting message as she leaves The Loop for more campaigning?
As expected, it’s a message filled with positivity.
“This is a great campaign. I’m proud of my team. I’m proud of what we have to offer. And I just want to let Newfoundlanders and Labradorians know that the more New Democrats we elect, the stronger the voice of every person in The House. And that’s what we’re all about.”