Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
An Angus Reid Institute survey of 1517 Canadians focusing on euthanasia and assisted suicide (also known as assisted death) done between March 21 - 24 found that the majority of Canadians oppose many of the recommendations in the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying report (report). The report made 21 recommenations including euthanasia for: people with dementia, people with dementia, and people with psychiatric conditions. The report provided recommendations for legislation on assisted death.
The survey found that 78% of Canadians opposed euthanasia for people with severe psychological suffering but no terminal illness, meaning they oppose recommendation 3, in the report, that supported euthanasia for people with psychological suffering.
The survey found that 68% of Canadians opposed forcing religiously affiliated hospitals to participate in euthanasia while 62% supported religiously affiliated nursing homes from having to participate in euthanasia. Therefore they oppose recommendation 11 in the report.
The euthanasia lobby has pressured the government to reduce funding for institutions that refuse to kill their patients. The survey found that only 24% of Canadians supported this idea.
The survey found that only 36% of Canadians supported forcing medical professionals who oppose euthanasia to refer their patients to a doctor who will kill their patient.
In the State of Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, there is a two week waiting period before a person can obtain a lethal dose. Recommendation 14 in the report stated that there should be no waiting period. The survey indicates that respondents disagree with the report with only 12% opposing a waiting period.
The report of the Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying recommended wide-open rules for euthanasia but the survey found that the majority oppose "assisted death" for most reasons. The survey found that support for assisted death was limited based on circumstance:
- 36% support when a person with multiple conditions like arthritis and diabetes feels overwhelmed and wants to die,
- 31% support when a person has no hope for the future and finds no meaning in their life,
- 26% support when a person's care is perceived as a burden to their family,
- 21% support when the cost of a patient's care is very expensive to the health care.
The survey found that the majority of Canadians support “assisted death,” but 50% of the respondents wanted significant restrictions on killing or wanted “assisted death” completely prohibited.
The Liberal government is expected to present their euthanasia bill on April 11, 2016.