Before he became an international figure in the world of journalism, Peter Kent the Conservative Party candidate for the riding of Thornhill, spent several years serving in the CAF reserves.
Kent traces back his connection to the military to his birth. He was born in a Canadian Military Hospital in Sussex during the Second World War where his mother was a Canadian Army nurse, and his father was an intelligence corps officer with the Edmonton Regiment. Kent was brought back to Canada on a Red Cross ship after the war.
In his teen years, Kent was a Sea Cadet, which led him to apply to the Royal Canadian Navy Venture Program in Esquimalt. The program was designed to create naval aviators while studying at the University of British Columbia. However, Kent was unable to finish the program as the RCN at the time was on the edge of adopting bilingualism and so he was unable to keep up in French. Shortly after, Kent joined the Army Reserves in Calgary as part of the 150 RCA Service Corps. Working through the ranks, Kent became a lieutenant.
After serving for a few years in the reserves, Kent left the military to pursue a career in journalism. Kent’s career in journalism kept him closely entangled with the military as he covered dozens of stories involving military peacekeeping missions.
In 1966, Kent went to Vietnam as a freelance reporter and encountered CAF personnel in Saigon observing the carriage of the truce. He also followed CAF troops in peacekeeping missions to Africa, Cyprus, the Golan Heights and Europe during the end of the Cold War as a senior NBC correspondent.
Kent has won many awards over the years as a journalist including the Robert F. Kennedy Award. He is also a member of the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame.
After four decades as a journalist, Kent turned to politics by chance in 2005.
“Around 2000 I came to believe that good government wasn’t as complicated as the then Chretien government made it seem. However, I was still a journalist and was still keeping my opinions to myself. Then in 2005 as Executive Producer of Global Television’s program Global Sunday we took the program to Montreal for the founding policy convention of the reconstituted Conservative Party. I went in as a journalist and I was so impressed with results of that convention that three weeks later I became a candidate in 2006,” said Kent.
Unsuccessful at his first attempt, he was elected in 2008 and has been in office since. In Parliament, Kent was elected to be the Chair of the House Standing Committee on National Defence in Oct. 2013.
Kent believes the Conservative Party has followed through on promises to better equip the military.
“It’s been clear during time my time as Chair of the Committee on National Defence that the Canadian Forces, land, sea and air, need to have the equipment the men and women require to safely and effectively do the mission we require of them at home and overseas.
Although the other parties talk a good game about supporting our forces, I believe our record proves we do what we commit to doing and will continue to doing so,” stated Kent.
During his time in Parliament, he has also looked into several recommendations for improving care and support for veterans.
“It’s a tough challenge. As a child of veterans, myself recognize how well they were treated over the years and in their later years. I think we have a commitment to do as well by our younger veterans today,” said Kent.