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History of Hansard

In Nova Scotia, the reporting and printing of legislative proceedings is over 200 years old.

Hansard takes its name from Thomas Curson Hansard, who began publishing the parliamentary debates of Great Britain in 1812. Although there were other publishers, Hansard’s debates were recognized as the most authentic record of the debates. Because of this recognition, the term Hansard has been adopted by most Commonwealth Parliamentary reporting offices.

Key dates in Nova Scotia

February 21, 1818
First parliamentary reports appear in the Acadian Recorder. Before this date, newspapers published speeches from the throne, recorded in the Journals and Proceedings of the House of Assembly, but nothing else.

February 11, 1841
William Alexander Henry, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Antigonish, moves “that the present system of reporting the Debates and Proceedings of this House is not such as to give satisfaction, and that a Committee be appointed to obtain information as to the best means of obtaining correct reports in future.”

April 5, 1841
The House of Assembly, based on the Committee’s recommendation, grants £100 to the reporters of the debates and proceedings of the House.

1841 – 1850
Reports are recorded in local newspapers.

1851 – 1861
Official reports are published by the House of Assembly. Nova Scotia was the second jurisdiction in the British Empire to publish reports, after Great Britain.

1862 – 1863
Reports are published in local newspapers.

Official reports are published by the House of Assembly.

Publication of reports ceases during the First World War. Local newspapers publish minimal reports.

Legislative Library holds an unofficial report for this year.

Minimal reports are published in local newspapers.

1951 – present
Official reports are published by the House of Assembly.

Official printers, reporters and editors

1851-1856             Richard Nugent

1857                       William A. Penney (printer)

1858-1859             Otto Weeks Jr. (reporter)

1861-1866             Sir John George Bourinot

1867                       Joseph C. Crosskill (printer and publisher)

1868-1872             Sir John Sparrow David Thompson (reporter)

1873-1882             Benjamin Russell (reporter)

1883-1888             Samuel A. Chesley (reporter)

1889-1916             John M. Geldert (reporter)

1920                       Weeks Printing Co. (printer of pamphlets from debates)

1950 - 1966           H.B. Jefferson (editor)

1967-1969             John Quinn “Jack” Stuewe (editor)

1970 – 1977           Ralph S. Morton (editor)

1977 – 2000           Rodney Caley (editor)

2000 – 2017           Robert Kinsman (editor)

2017                       Colleen Denomme (acting editor)

2018-2021             Donna Davis (editor)

2021                       Colleen Denomme (acting editor)

2021-                     Mike Chandler (editor)