Peter Kent was first elected to the House of Commons representing Thornhill in 2008 and sworn into Cabinet as Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, responsible for the Americas. In January 2011, Peter was appointed Canada’s Environment Minister and served in that capacity until July of 2013. In October 2013 Peter was elected Chair of the House Standing Committee on National Defence. Prior to his election to the House of Commons, Peter was a broadcast journalist having spent more than 40 years working as a writer, reporter, producer, anchor, and senior executive in Canada, the United States, and around the world. He covered stories that shaped the 20th century, including such momentous events as the Vietnam and Cambodian conflicts and recovery, decades of conflict, uncertainty, and hope in the Middle East, the Ethiopian famine, the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, the overthrow of Idi Amin, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.
Peter won a number of awards over the course of his career, including the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Award. He is also a member of the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. A passionate believer in community involvement, Peter actively supports a number of charitable organizations. He has served as a mentor with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council and was on the Toronto cabinet of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. He remains involved with the Royal Conservatory of Music, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and its Odette Cancer Centre.
Peter is married to Cilla. They have a daughter, Trilby, son-in-law, Daniel, and granddaughter, Clea. Peter was diagnosed with Stage Four HPV-related cancer of the neck and tongue in early 2014 after an operation to remove swollen lymph nodes which were found to contain squamous cell carcinoma. Specialists at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre (one of the top 10 in the world) supervised 35 radiation treatments and 3 major chemotherapy sessions from April through May 2014. During this period receiving liquid sustenance through a stomach tube. Through the loving support of his wife, Cilla, and the professionalism and good humor of doctors, technicians and staff helped Peter through the most difficult few months of his life. Peter Kent was declared cancer-free and back at work in Parliament by September with appetite and energy fully restored by December 2014.
Pre-adolescent vaccination funding for girls was initiated by federal government funding in our 2007 budget. Provinces have adopted continuing vaccination coverage for girls. Only two provinces, Alberta and PEI, have followed the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and extended HPV vaccination to boys. As a result of media coverage of his treatment and recovery, Peter became an advocate for HPV vaccination for boys as well as girls. In December 2014, Peter was honored to join the HPV Global Action as Honorary Spokesperson. He looks forward to sharing with Canadians facts about HPV-related cancers and about HPV vaccines for girls and boys. “If the HPV vaccine had been available in my youth, I have no doubt that my mother, a registered nurse, would have had me vaccinated at the first opportunity,” affirms Peter Kent.