Teresa Hare is President of Nova Scotians United for Life and has been involved in the pro-life movement in Nova Scotia since 1977.
Teresa was the chief organizer for the Halifax end of Friends for Life Conference, held April 27-28 at Annopolis Regional Vocational School, in Middleton, Nova Scotia. She is quick to point out that the conference itself was the provincial Right to Life conference, we thought Teresa a good person to query for impressions of this, “the finest pro-life conference ever held in the Maritimes.”
Interim: How was the conference?
Teresa Hare: It was really a good experience for our younger members. A lot of younger members are coming on our board now; in fact, the woman taking over as president next year is only 23 and she is very competent.
Interim: What kind of effect do you think Mr. Borowski had on the conference?
T.H.: The entire weekend was very reassuring. Joe Borwoski turned out not to be the ‘lone wolf’ that some people had feared he would be, but someone who was working entirely within the movement.
Interim: What was your own impression of him?
T.H.: Someone should be assigned to this man. He needs a chronicler, to build a library about him. He is a messenger, he is a prophet; he has much more on his shoulders than a casual observer would see. One of the people who had questioned inviting Joe Borowski, afterwards commented that she was so pleased, saying: he is not polished; he is not Hollywood; he is humble; he has a simple message, and if you don’t like it… too bad! You know we [pro-lifers] are an apathetic majority here in Nova Scotia, so I had a feeling he would not draw big crowds, but the radio show was dynamite.
Interim: What happened? Tell us the story from the beginning.
T.H.: He and Jean [Mr. Borowski’s wife] arrived in Halifax on the 26th of May. The plan was, the first evening he should meet with the local board of the Nova Scotians United for Life, have a nice dinner and, in the process, meet with some people who are deeply involved in the pro-life movement. For instance, Mr. And Mrs. Jean Brown hosted Joe and our entire group for drinks before dinner that evening. (She is on our board, and he is president of the local Physicians for Life.) It was a good chance to meet and chat with Jean and others casually.
Interim: I understand there was a little mix-up about dinner.
T.H.: It was really quite funny. I was organizing this thing, and I had forgotten Joe’s distaste for red meat and had ordered beautiful prime ribs. Just as the steaks were being brought in, I had to run out and ask ‘what have you got in place of meat.’ Joe humorously forgave me later by saying, ‘It wasn’t a lobster dinner, but…’
Interim: Was it a black-tie affair?
T.H.: It was just a casual, informal get-together. One of the guests at that dinner was Nina Ross, the president of the Provincial Council for Life, here in Nova Scotia.
The dinner itself was at the Dresden Arms, which Joe subsequently named the Dreadful Arms. This was the hotel he stayed at. When we booked the suite we had no idea that the hotel would be full of athletes on some kind of gymnastics tour. We found the service was rather poor, indeed. The meal was grand but the room service was not.
Interim: Did Mr. Borowski get to travel about much?
T.H.: This was his first chance to meet people from Halifax/Dartmouth who are involved in pro-life. A car leasing firm donated a very nice car for his visit and chap offered to be at his beck and call so he did get to see some of the city.
Interim: Did Mr. Borowski get to meet Mr. Edmond Morris?
T.H.: Yes he did. On Friday, he dropped into the legislative Assembly and spoke with our Minister of Social Service, Mr. Edmond Morris. The House was in session, but Mr. Morris came out and they chatted for a short time. Mr. Morris has been a member of our group since it opened in1971. He has been a controversial figure for the past several years because he presented legislation, which did get passed, that restricts both mother’s allowance and welfare payment to single mothers over 19. He stopped the flow of a lot of unquestioned money to the young teens.
He was under a lot of pressure and took a lot of flak for quite a while, so I think he was probably quite happy to meet Joe.
That was it, mostly, for the first two days, Joe and Jean then headed down to the valley [the Annapolis Valley] early Friday afternoon as their whole initial purpose in coming here was to attend the Provincial Pro-Life Conference in Middleton.
Interim: Where is Middletown?
T.H.: Middleton is about an hour and a half northwest of Halifax. Nancy Murray, president of Valley Action for Life began the planning of this meeting back in October of 1982. The conference was a complete success and was probably the best one we have ever had here in Nova Scotia. Two of the people who did much of the organizing for this excellent conference are Sylvia Boivin and Kitty Pond.
Besides bringing together the two “sparklers,” [Henry Hyde and Joe Borowski] there were many other aspects to this conference.
Interim: What were some of them?
T.H.: There were panel discussions, and notes on service angles for pro-life – you know, the things that are really necessary. There was someone there form BECA (a battered-wives-and-children’s group) and a presentation was given on self-respect, concerning not just he unborn and newborn but others such as the aged and the handicapped. These kinds of angles are so much a key to what pro-life is all about.
As well, we had Mary McLennen, a serverely-handicapped women, speaking on behalf of the handicapped. She is a brilliant woman and a tireless fight for human rights. I believe she was a thalidomide case. She gave a marvelous presentation. It was an extraordinary program all round; really, an inspiration.
Interim: I suppose Mr. Borowski got to meet Mr. Hyde?
T.H.: Yes, Joe was a guest speaker along with Mr. Hyde. I think this was the first time they had met. Certainly, it was Mr. Hyde’s first trip to the Maritimes. It was obvious that the two men respected and admired each other greatly: they are doing much the same work, working within the legal system and challenging the law.
Henry Hyde has a superior intellect, and is an excellent speaker and a very clear thinker. The two of them made the whole conference very refreshing. To hear the message from those right at the very heart of the battle is always rejuvenating, and that’s what it was for everyone there – at the gathering in the valley.
Then Joe came back to Halifax on Sunday evening (the 29th), and spoke for an hour at the Cardinal Cushing auditorium.
Interim: Was there any reaction to his visit by pro-abortion groups?
T.H: Both the conference and his presentation in Halifax were picketed by a small but very noisy group of C.A.R.A.L representatives. They always come out to pro-life events. You never hear of them between times, except for small bits in the newspaper about Norma Scarborough and that sort of thing.
They come to anything we advertise because they steal the press, you see. The press wouldn’t normally come to anything that we do: the pro-death folk draw the press for us, and indeed the only TV coverage of the conference was a little blurb on the 10 to 12 picketers outside, while the 500 people inside were never mentioned. A somewhat larger group picketed Mr. Borowski’s presentation, and a couple actually came in to hear what he had to say. One of these cursed him on his way out. They are a very tasteless bunch indeed. But they did steal the media thunder and the one local paper that did cover the conference made us look like a bunch of rednecks.
Interim: Who attended the talk at Cardinal Cushing?
T.H: After his presentation, the board, and their spouses and invited guests, met with Joe at an informal reception in the same building, which is on the grounds of St. Vincent University.
Among the guests were Mrs. Mildred Moir, the founder of Nova Scotia Right to Life and its president for the first ten years, and her husband, Judge Louis Moir, a judge with the family court in Nova Scotia. (He had a great deal to do with composing our Child Services Act.) They were delighted to meet Joe.
The following morning, Joe did the ‘hotline’ show here on CJCH from 9:20 a.m
until 11 a.m the host, Mr. Steve Murphy, is considered to be a superior talk-show host and is expert at handling people on the air and at keeping things rational. The result was just dynamic; it was excellent.
Following that show, Joe did an interview with their FM station … on a show called “Nova Scotia Today,” a 2 p.m. current-events-type show. The host for that show was Mr. John Whidden: he pulled no punches at all and went after Joe with a vengeance.
Joe left later on that afternoon for Moncton where he was booked for another radio show and for a meeting with David Little.
He and Jean then headed to P.E.I before heading back to Winnipeg.
Interim: What was the overall impression left by Mr. Borowski’s visit – in ten words or less?
T.H: It was a great visit for all of us!