Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Worrall “Tom” Kent (1922-2011)
Journalist, civil servant, businessman.
Born at Kidsgrove, Staffordshire, Britain on 3 April 1922, he won a scholarship to Oxford at the age of 16, obtaining a degree in philosophy, politics and economics. He served as an intelligence officer during the Second World War then spent five years as an editorial, industrial, financial, and political writer with the Manchester Guardian, then three years as Assistant Editor of The Economist before coming to Canada in 1954 to serve as Editor of the Winnipeg Free Press until 1959 when he was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt for his contribution to local journalism.
He was Vice-President of Planning at Chemcell Limited from 1959 to 1961, when he joined the staff of Prime Minister Lester Pearson, serving as a policy analyst. He ran as a Liberal candidate in the 1963 federal general election in a British Columbia constituency, being defeated by NDP leader T. C. Douglas. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Manpower and Immigration in 1966, later Deputy Minister of Forestry and Rural Development. In 1971, he was appointed by Pierre Trudea as President of the Cape Breton Development Corporation, a crown corporation established in 1967 to take over coal operations on Cape Breton Island from private industry. He was later President and CEO of the Sydney Steel Corporation.
In 1979, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, being elevated in 2001 to a Companion of the Order. In 1980, he was appointed head of a Royal Commission to investigate the concentration of ownership of Canadian newspapers in the hands of a few chains.
He died at Ottawa, Ontario on 15 November 2011.
“He’s liaison man with the prime minister”, Winnipeg Tribune, 25 February 1964.
“PM reassigns deputy ministers”, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 July 1968, page 31.
“Kent will head coal agency”, Winnipeg Free Press, 29 June 1971, page 13.
“Editorial influence: When newspapers played politics rather than just reporting on them” by Tom Oleson, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 June 1997, page B9.
“Former Free Press editor probed press ownership”, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 November 2011, page A2.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 19 November 2011