Last week we met with Deborah Caruso, Director of Hansard. We are greatly appreciative of Ms. Caruso’s time because we gained a much better appreciation for the services Hansard provides to the legislature. Hansard is the printed transcript of debates and it has come a long way since medieval Britain when it was a punishable offence to take notes during meetings of Parliament. In Ontario, it has been produced in its current form since the 1950s. The process of producing Hansard for the House and committees is very complex. Closed captioning modified by special software serves as the initial text input and is edited for spelling, punctuation, and context by reporters who compare the text to audio segments of debates. This requires expert attention to detail! As an example, Ms. Caruso prepared two texts for us to read, both had similar wording but completely different punctuation. This entertaining activity demonstrated how the addition and removal of punctuation can dramatically change the meaning of a text. We were impressed to discover that Hansard is also responsible for Indexing and Interpretation. Hansard is an amazing resource for anyone interested in Ontario politics and it will certainly be helpful for our academic papers!
Thank you for meeting with us, Ms. Caruso!