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Hansard is the division within the Legislative Assembly that transcribes the Members' debates in the House and in meetings of legislative committees. The name "Hansard" is the name of the Hansard family, who published Great Britain's parliamentary debates from 1812 until 1888.
History of Hansard on PEI
In the spring of 1995, a committee of the legislature reported to the Assembly that:
"A Hansard Reporting Services exists in the Senate, the House of Commons and in each of the provincial and terretorial legislatures, with the exception of Prince Edward Island...Over the last four to five years there has been expressed an increased desire to establish and maintain a verbatim transcript of House proceedings. Members of the Legislative Assembly, media, Opposition and Government Members' Offices, Ministers of the Crown, lawyers and the general public want to know what was said on the floor of the House in debate and what their representatives are saying about those issues." (Journal of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 1995, p. 157)
Following on the recommendation that Hansard "be established...and implemented effective at the commencement of the 4th Session of this General Assembly" (Journal of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 1995, p. 158), on February 26, 1996 - opening day of the 4th session - Hansard PEI began operations.
Hansard publication statistics
Since the Hansard Service was started in 1996, over 1,000 issues have been produced.
According to Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules & Forms, "Hansard is not a verbatim transcript of the debates of the House. It is a transcript in extenso [at full length]. In the case of repetition or for a number of other reasons, such as more specific identification, it is acceptable to make changes so that anyone reading Hansard will get the meaning of what is said. Those who edit Hansard have an obligation to make a sentence more readable since there is a difference between the spoken and the written word." (6th ed., 55, p.19)