Although it might seem like yesterday to some, it’s actually been 40 years since the first edition of The Interim rolled off the presses.
The paper’s name came courtesy of the late Carl Scharfe, media man for Campaign Life. He’s also the man who suggested that we needed a presence on the Internet (what’s an internet?) which led to the creation of Lifesitenews 15 years later.
The Interim title is meant to convey to readers that until sanity returned to society and the killing of children before birth would be totally banned, this newspaper would be here to tell the truth about life and family issues.
When the first issue was favourably reviewed by our supporters, I suggested that perhaps, Toronto Right to Life (whose office was in the same building as that of Campaign Life) might wish to co-sponsor future issues of the newspaper. However, Right to Life’s president, Laura McArthur, declined the offer, but we carried on.
It was a visit to Toronto by Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, former abortionist turned pro-lifer, that spurred the thought of publishing a pro-life newspaper. He was invited by Campaign Life to a Toronto press conference held at the then Sutton Place Hotel. He was enthused by the large media turnout – television networks, radio stations, and print scribes.
However, the following day, he was quite discouraged by the lack of coverage.
In large part, this was a wakeup call to pro-lifers. The reality was that those wealthy individuals who monopolistically controlled the media had to be challenged by the pro-life movement. After all, in the United States, the founders of the pro-abortion movement, people like Dr. Nathanson, Larry Laidler, and Betty Friedan had made effective use of media, being regularly interviewed and quoted in the mainstream media.
When I proposed to supporters that we had to become our own media and no longer rely on the secular press, the first question I had to answer was “what do you know about running a newspaper?” My answer was, “well, I read them daily.”
So, five years after Campaign Life was founded in Winnipeg, on May 25, 1978, The Interim was born in Toronto in March of 1983. You can imagine the difficulties in starting this new endeavor from scratch.
On October 7, 1978, in Toronto, there were about 200 families who indicated their support for this new pro-life organization, Campaign Life. By the time of the first edition of The Interim almost five years later, there were about 12,000 families on board.
Campaign Life leaders believed that since the pro-life issue was primarily spiritual in nature, we should approach churches and faith-based groups seeking their support for distribution of the monthly and its funding primarily through paid subscriptions and advertisements.
Thus, the generous donations of committed supporters and other pro-life groups, together with their desire to help spread the message of the reality of life of the pre-born children, gave birth to this newspaper. None of this could have happened without the sacrificial support of you, the readers, the churches, advertisers, quality writers, and researchers.
Regular columns of Winifride Prestwich, (or Miss P. as she was known to the students at Toronto’s Havergal College where she served as vice principal) and those of Irish Missionary priest Fr. Ted Colleton were often prophetic. It was Miss P. who warned us that “as night follows day, if we didn’t quickly stop this abortion mentality from taking over, we would slide down the slippery slope to euthanasia and infanticide.”
Fr. Ted Colleton was the Spiritan or Holy Ghost Father who was expelled following a 30-year missionary stint in Kenya for standing up against President Jomo Kenyatta on a matter of principle. His missionary work continued in Canada.
Pro-life hero Joseph P. Borowski of Winnipeg was a provincial cabinet minister in the Ed Schryer NDP government who resigned over abortion funding, went on a 90-day fast and spent time in jail for protesting abortion. Monthly, he purchased sufficient copies of The Interim to be distributed sequentially to entire Manitoba towns and cities. Several years later, a jogger found them undelivered, all dumped in a rural area.
A group of Ontario businesspeople, inspired by Fr. Colleton, formed Business for Life which purchased and distributed monthly copies in Southwestern Ontario (and who paid for the monthly dinners for the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus in Ottawa).
Paul Tuns, the current editor has been at the helm for more than 20 years, dealing with a myriad of life and family issues. Over the years he assembled a group of regular writers and columnists including the late Joe Campbell (one of Campaign Life’s founders), the long-retired Frank Kennedy and Donald De Marco. Tuns follows former editors Jim Hughes, Carl Scharfe, Peter Muggeridge, Mike Otis, Mike Mastromatteo, Sabina McLuhan, Fr. Alphonse De Valk, and David Curtin.
To illustrate The Interim’s effect on readers, I’ll give you only one example of many: years ago, at a dinner and fundraiser organized by the late Dr. Ray Holmes, in a Brampton, Ont., church hall, the cook approached me. She inquired if the woman seated at the table with me was the writer-editor, Sabina McLuhan, and if so could she speak to her.
After a few moments speaking with the woman, the cook introduced her to her daughter who was serving as a waitress that evening. Soon all three were in tears. The cook, a pro-lifer, had read a McLuhan Interim column and was so moved she placed it in front of her daughter’s breakfast. After reading the column, the daughter burst into tears and revealed to her mom that she was pregnant and had an appointment scheduled at a local abortuary. The abortion was cancelled, and they were overjoyed at the birth of what was then her two-year-old son. Thanks, Sabina.
This is only one example of The Interim’s 40-year impact. But none of this would have been possible without the support and sacrifice of all you readers who have been semper fidelis in The Interim.