When "sure" doesn't mean sure - Macleans.ca

When “sure” doesn’t mean sure

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After QP this afternoon, the Speaker reported to the House on the case of the “sure” deletions. According to Speaker Scheer, the word was deleted from the official transcript at the discretion of Hansard’s editors, without input from Tony Clement or anyone in Mr. Clement’s office.

Due to stringent timelines and the voluminous amounts of text, the technical task of editing is frequently parcelled out to multiple editors whose collective work for a given meeting is then reviewed by a Senior Editor. These Senior Editors look at the full context of the preliminary verbatim transcript, including the intonation of the person speaking, in order to accurately convey the intended meaning in the final transcript.  Thus, they routinely authorize the removal of redundant words, false starts, hesitations, words that might lead to confusion as to the true intent of the statement, and so on. Sometimes entire sentences are restructured for clarity. Even within the testimony of a single witness or Member speaking, it is not unusual for words to be removed in one place and retained in another if the editors judge that, in the latter case, the words do not lead to confusion or convey an unintended meaning.

Mr. Clement duly demanded an apology from the NDP’s Charlie Angus and, speaking with reporters, attempted to explain the realities of human speech patterns that caused him to answer in the affirmative when no such indication was intended.

It’s a hesitation as you formulate your response. It’s common in the English language or indeed any language and Mr. Angus knows that. He knows how Hansard works. You can check the record. I have verbal types of speech that I use like everybody—every other human being on the face of the planet. And for him to try to jump to that conclusion and to go beyond that and to assert that I myself was involved in some conspiracy to change Hansard has proved to be a lie. And a liar should apologize.