Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Environics poll shows that Canadians want better end-of-life care - not euthanasia.

An Environics group poll of 1014 Canadians done between October 6 - 13 found that while 61% supported the legalization of euthanasia, 69% of the respondents stated that the Canadian government should make palliative/ hospice care a greater priority as compared to 18% who thought that the legalization of euthanasia was a greater priority.

The Environics poll was commissioned by several groups, including the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The poll asked four questions.

The first question asked the respondents their degree of support for legalizing euthanasia. 61% supported - 25% strongly supported, 36% somewhat supported. The strongest support for legalizing euthanasia was in Quebec - 75%. This response was similar to our last poll.

The second question asked respondents if they were concerned about the elderly feeling pressured to accept euthanasia. 56% were concerned - 30% very concerned, 26% somewhat concerned.

The third question asked respondents if they were concerned that sick/disabled/elderly people would be euthanized without their consent. 70% were concerned - 41% very concerned, 29% somewhat concerned.

It is interesting that 55% of those who strongly supported and 72% of those who somewhat supported the legalization of euthanasia were concerned that people will be euthanized without consent.

The last official report from the Netherlands (2005) showed that 550 people were euthanized without consent that year.

The fourth question asked respondents whether the government should have a greater priority on palliative care or legalizing euthanasia.

69% stated that palliative/hospice care should have a greater priority while only 18% thought that legalizing euthanasia was a greater priority. 5% thought that both should be a priority while the others did not know.

Even people who strongly supported the legalization of euthanasia were more supportive of palliative/hospice care (43%) than legalizing euthanasia (38%).

Similar to previous polls, this poll shows that Canadians do not strongly support euthanasia and they are more concerned about abuses related to legalizing euthanasia and they are far more supportive of improving end-of-life care than legalizing euthanasia.

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