Tom Kent, the founding editor of Policy Options magazine, has died in Kingston at the age of 89. Kent is perhaps better remembered as the chair of Royal Commission on Newspapers (popularly known as the Kent Commission) in 1980-81 (which his death notice mentioned was the only such commission to meet its deadline).
Kent was a prolific and energetic civil servant who played a large part in the creation of Medicare and the Canada Pension Plan and in developing the points system for assessing new immigrants. Born in the north of England, Kent was a code-breaker during the Second World War and later an editorial writer for The Guardian and the Economist before emigrating to Canada in 1954 to become editor of the Winnipeg Free Press.
Kent is credited with helping Mike Pearson rebuild the Liberal party in the early '60s and a paper he wrote for a Kingston conference in 1960 formed the blueprint for the Liberal revival that made Pearson prime minister. Kent served as a senior advisor to Peraon and became deputy minister of regional expansion. Later, he left Ottawa to take over the Cape Breton Development Corporation(1970 - 77), Sydney Steel (1977-79) and then became dean of administrative studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax (1980-83) and an adjunct professor in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University in Kingston. At about the same time, he helped launch Policy Options.He was named a companion of the Order of Canada, the highest rank, in 2001.