It has been recognized throughout the world by various figures as one of the leading periodicals on life and family issues. On Nov. 11, the Right to Life Association of Toronto and Area added to the accolades by awarding The Interim newspaper its 2003 June Scandiffio Award for outstanding pro-life leadership in the media.

The recognition took place as part of the pro-life association’s annual general meeting. The award is named after the well-known former executive director of the Toronto right-to-life association, who was highly skilled at handling the media and had formidable skills as a debater.

Scandiffio was at the event to present the award to Interim editor Paul Tuns, who accepted it on behalf of current and past Interim editors.

“It is an incredible honour for me to accept the June Scandiffio Award on behalf of the Interim editors,” Tuns said in his acceptance speech. “The Interim is the pro-life paper of record, providing a vigilant witness against the assaults on the dignity of the human being that our species has encountered in the last (few) decades.”

He added that The Interim tries to strike a balance between “hard, and often disheartening, news,” and feature stories that inspire and celebrate the sacrifice of regular men and women who have given a resounding “no” to the culture of death.

“It is not always easy,” Tuns said, acknowledging his predecessors – Jim Hughes, Sabina McLuhan, the late Carl Scharfe, Fr. Alphonse de Valk, Peter Muggeridge, Mike Mastromatteo and David Curtin – for their “courage, tenacity, commitment, prescience, intelligence, diligence and plain old hard work” in getting The Interim off the ground more than 20 years ago and keeping it vital in the ensuing two decades.

Also recognized at the meeting was Campaign Life Coalition president and International Right to Life vice-president Jim Hughes, who received the Gwen Landolt Award for outstanding pro-life leadership.

“I am deeply honoured to be given this award in her name,” Hughes said after paying tribute to Landolt’s pro-life contributions. “Gwen Landolt set a high standard.”

Elaine Barber, president of the Students for Life group at St. Michael’s College and anchor member of the National Campus Life Network, received the Laura McArthur Award for outstanding pro-life leadership by a youth, while Anne Laframboise received the Dorothy Sullivan Award for outstanding volunteer work.

An overview report of the Toronto and Area Right to Life Association’s work over the past year was provided by executive director Natalie Hudson. She said one of the most fruitful projects has been the work of one part-time employee who has succeeded in persuading three local doctors to stop referring women for abortions, after advising them of some of the deleterious effects the procedure has on women.

A keynote address was given by Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the outspoken, New York City-based chair of the Jewish Union, an orthodox Jewish political activist group.

Levin lamented the fact that Western civilization seems to be squandering what has been passed down to it spiritually by past generations.

“Let’s salvage what we can and not throw up our hands in defeat,” he urged. “The goal is to move back toward the way things were.”