OTTAWA—It was old, grey, heavy, and it lived in the basement of the Office of the Prime Minister on Wellington Street. It was used to type out speaking texts for the prime minister and the Queen. Too hard to lift, it had its own typewriter table that was rolled out when necessary. But it produced speaking texts that the PM and the Queen could use without reading glasses. Each letter and number had its own key, and every mistake was hard to correct, and when you were typing for them it had to be perfect. As a young secretary in prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s office, it was the most frightening aspect of our work. In the days before word processors, when the IBM Selectric was considered high-tech, The Pig—which is what it was universally called—was difficult.
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