For 40 years, Peter Kent was the very model of a modern major journalist. He had done just about everything there was to do --- from anchoring, to reporting, to making documentaries, to writing, to producing, to being a senior executive.
In 2006, he decided to try his hand at politics, running in the mid-Toronto riding of
The Tories were shut out within the 416 boundaries of
I asked Peter Kent “Three Questions” during a recent conversation in his office in the
* * *
Stay up to date!
Get Current Affairs & Documentaries email updates in your inbox every morning.
Peter Kent: Politics is a lot harder than it appears from the outside. As a rookie MP and junior minister, the learning curve is huge. I’ve had to miss some of the learning curve from Parliament’s backbench context and had to absorb an awful lot. The first few months I was completely sleep deprived.
But it’s been really great. It’s taken my first full year in office to get my feet on the ground. Having a background in journalism is a huge help. And now I have a job on the responsible side of public policy.
Doing journalism at CBC, NBC, or the Christian Science Monitor all dealt with public policy. Look at Pamela Wallin or Mike Duffy. Any mature journalist’s experience represents the perfect preparation for public service, in a way former doctors, lawyers, or policemen just don’t have. Journalists do have a great advantage.
SP: I noticed when I attended Question Period earlier today (November 18, 2009) that, rather than ad-libbing your answers as you would have frequently done in your broadcasting days, you read everything from prepared sheets. How come?
PK: I can ad-lib answers around specific points but I’m covering a lot of files today that aren’t normally mine.
(Note: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, and International Trade Minister Stockwell Day were all absent from Question Period, traveling overseas.
One of the strengths of our government and one of the shortcomings of the opposition parties is that we make sure everyone knows what our government’s position is. We make sure we speak to issues with a united voice.
SP: So that’s why you, and the prime minister, and other ministers all end up using the exact same quotes when you answer questions?
PK: Yes. So when we’re asked about the Israeli position on settlements, we never criticize
We’ve put on the record our position on nuclear power and