Canada Poll Finds Equal Number Would Choose Euthanasia or Palliative Care

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 25, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Poll Finds Equal Number Would Choose Euthanasia or Palliative Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 25
, 2008

Ottawa, Canada ( — A disturbing new poll from Canada finds an equal number of respondents would choose palliative care over euthanasia at the end of their lives. The results find death is increasingly becoming an alternative for pain relief for patients, the elderly or disabled.

The Environics polling firm queried Canadians and found 44 percent would choose euthanasia and the same amount would choose palliative care. The final 12 percent were undecided.

Dr. Delores Doherty, president of LifeCanada, the group that commissioned the poll, told she is concerned by the results, which appear to show changing attitudes in different generations.

Among those over 60 years old, 51% of respondents would choose palliative care and 36% would choose euthanasia.

“It is noteworthy that older Canadians polled were more likely to choose palliative care,” she said. “This suggests that those closer to the end of their lives have a different perspective on illness and dying.”

Doherty continued: “We find the poll’s support for euthanasia alarming and wonder if those polled realize that this is the deliberate ending of their lives."

"The conflict evident in the results reflects the fear people have of dying in misery," she added. "It also highlights the failure of the health care system to make palliative care equally accessible throughout Canada. The provision of quality end-of-life care must be a greater priority in this country.”

Dr. Doherty says palliative care provides effective pain-management, support, and care when a person is dying. Research shows that good palliative care can reduce the demand for what some call "mercy-killing."

Doherty says patients and elderly people need better care and help with treating depression for example, which can cause them to more realistically consider euthanasia.

“The experience in other jurisdictions where euthanasia and/or assisted suicide are legal has shown that many of those who ‘choose’ euthanasia are depressed and need treatment, not killing," she said.

"In addition, many vulnerable people have been killed without their consent in countries like Holland, which has had legal euthanasia for many years," she added.

The Focus Canada poll of 2023 Canadians was conducted between September 24 and October 21, 2008 and it has a margin of error of +/-2.2%.

LifeCanada, a national educational pro-life body, has commissioned an annual poll on life issues since 2002.

Related web sites:
LifeCanada –

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