What’s Wrong With This Picture?
Recent media polls at CBC and the Vancouver Sun would seem to indicate that assisted dying is not supported by the majority of the general public. However, there is a difference between unscientific media polls and those like the one we reported on in January by Forum Research which shows that 2/3 of Canadians support the current law being changed to allow for it.
In January of this year we posted on our blog site that a December 13th, 2011 poll by Forum Research showed that over 2/3 of Canadians continued to support legalizing medically-assisted dying. However, immediately after the B.C court decision to decriminalize assisted dying, media polls showed the exact opposite.
A CBC poll on June 15, 2012 asked the question, “Should Canadians have the legal right to assisted suicide?” Surprisingly, the results showed that 74.62% or 3,543 respondents were against it, with 24.77% or 1,176 for it. Another similar poll by the Vancouver Sun on the same date presented more definitive choices:
“Applaud it: If suicide is not illegal, no reason for assisted-suicide to be forbidden as long as there are well-monitored safeguards in place”: 24.66% or 958 votes were recorded for this choice.
“Condemn it: The good of alleviating suffering is outweighed by the probability of wrongful death”: 72.15% or 2,803 votes were cast for this choice. In both polls the undecided votes were minimal.
Media polls are non-scientific and merely canvas on-line respondents to click a choice; yes, no, or undecided.
It appears that the results of these two polls, which vary so much from previous results, may reflect an organized effort by those opposed to the right to die-with-dignity to load the responses in an effort to influence public perception prior to parliament taking on the issue. It is obvious that going forward we must ensure that parliamentarians and the Canadian public are provided with accurate scientific polling results before making a decision on such a significant matter of personal freedom.