LifeCanada Press Release: Nov. 21, 2008 – Poll finds Canadians conflicted on end of life issues
A new Environics poll has found Canadians split on the question of palliative care versus euthanasia. When asked if they would choose palliative care over euthanasia at the end of their lives, 44% of Canadians polled said they would choose palliative care with an equal number choosing euthanasia.
“It is note worthy that older Canadians polled were more likely to choose palliative care,” reported Dr. Delores Doherty, president of LifeCanada, the group that commissioned the poll. Among those over 60 years old, 51% of respondents would choose palliative care and 36% would choose euthanasia. “This suggests that those closer to the end of their lives have a different perspective on illness and dying.”
“We find the poll 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. 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.”
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’. “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. In addition, many vulnerable people have been killed without their consent in countries like Holland, which has had legal euthanasia for many years.”
The Focus Canada poll of 2023 Canadians was conducted between September 24 and October 21, 2008. It is considered accurate 19 out of 20 times, with a margin of error of +/-2.2%. LifeCanada, the national educational pro-life body, has commissioned an annual poll on life issues since 2002.
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For more information, contact Dr. Delores Doherty at 709-754-2068 or LifeCanada Executive Director Gudrun Schultz at 613-722-1552