Survey finds support among Canadians for broader assisted-dying law

The survey was conducted Jan. 17 to 21 among 1,552 Canadians eligible to vote

As the federal government moves to revise the law on assisted dying, new survey results suggest most Canadians support medical help to end suffering even when a natural death is some time away.

In a web survey conducted this month for The Canadian Press, polling firm Leger found 86 per cent of respondents agreed that people with a serious, degenerative and incurable disease should be able to request and obtain medical assistance in dying.

Seventy-four per cent of those who took part said medical assistance in dying should be accessible to all people with incurable diseases, even if their death is not fast approaching.

Agreement with this notion of a broader assisted-dying regime ranged from 66 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to 84 per cent in Quebec.

There was also little variation among people who identified as supporters of the three main federal parties.

The results come as the Trudeau government works to comply with a Superior Court of Quebec ruling that concluded it is unconstitutional to allow only Canadians who are already near death to seek medical help to end their lives.

“Based on these numbers, it’s all green lights for the federal government to move ahead,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

The survey was conducted Jan. 17 to 21 among 1,552 Canadians eligible to vote who were randomly recruited from an online panel. Since polls created from Internet panels are not random samples, however, the survey can’t be assigned a margin of error.

The polling firm says that using data from the 2016 census, results were weighted according to age, gender, mother tongue, region and level of education in order to ensure a representative sample of the population.

READ MORE: Feds launch consultation on who’s allowed to seek medically assisted death

The Quebec court gave the government until March 11 to amend the current law, which took effect four years ago following a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling that struck down the previous prohibition on doctor-assisted death.

The government is seeking views through an online questionnaire, closing Jan. 27, on how the law should be changed.

Justice Minister David Lametti, Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Carla Qualtrough, the minister for disability inclusion, are also consulting key voices at roundtables and other meetings.

The Leger poll yielded some views on questions the government has asked Canadians to ponder.

For instance, 74 per cent of respondents said people should be allowed to express an advance wish for medical assistance in dying if one day they should be diagnosed with a serious, degenerative and incurable disease.

Seventy-three per cent agreed with the option of making an advance request for help ending their lives, using an official application form, as soon as a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and is still lucid.

Just under half of respondents said the current 10-day period of reflection between requesting and receiving a medically assisted death should be increased.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forest industry supporters and convoy arrive at B.C. legislature

Rally delivers petition in favour of ‘working forests’

2020 is another banner year for Port Alberni

Painted banners will be hung up in the Rotary Arts District this summer

Port Alberni’s Special Olympic skaters head to BC Winter Games

Four skaters from Port Alberni will head to Fort St. John to… Continue reading

Alberni bowler proves that age is just a number

Maurice Bernier will be the oldest athlete at the Special Olympics nationals in Thunder Bay

Toronto Maple Leaf alumni face off against Alberni team in charity hockey game

PAACL team ready to face former NHLers in Inclusion Cup

Protesters barricade Premier John Horgan’s home ahead of B.C. budget unveiling

Demonstrators from the Extinction Rebellion have blocked the Langford driveway

Budget 2020: B.C. adds tax to sweet drinks and sodas

All soda, vending machine drinks will be subject to higher PST

Budget 2020: B.C. unveils new grant for students, phases out debt-relief program

For the first time, diploma, certificate students qualify for yearly post-secondary grant

2020 Budget: ICBC shortfall continues ahead of new rate-reduction plan

ICBC operating with $91-million deficit for 2019-2020 fiscal year

Budget 2020: B.C. NDP taps top tax bracket for more revenue

Minimum wage set to pass $15 an hour by 2021

Budget 2020: Not much new for B.C.’s struggling forest industry

Focus on wood waste utilization, efficiency, Carole James says

Skull reconstruction gives new insight into unknown man found in B.C. cemetery

RCMP released a 3-D skull reconstruction of a man who was found dead on July 2, 1998

Ten poisoned eagles rushed to veterinary hospital in Nanaimo

Eagles stricken after eating flesh of euthanized animal at Nanaimo Regional Landfill

Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades a critical moment for country

First Nations leaders suggest it may be time to peacefully end the blockades

Most Read