A random telephone poll of more than 13,000 households found that 56 per cent of Canadians are opposed to the awarding of the Order of Canada to abortionist Henry Morgentaler.

The national KLRVU poll, sponsored by Campaign Life Coalition, found that a clear majority of respondents in every province but Quebec opposed naming Morgentaler to the Order of Canada and that even in Quebec, there was strong opposition.

Winnipeg-based KLRVU called 157,115 Canadian households and about one in eight responded, using their touchtone phones to answer the straightforward question: “Hello this is CLC calling. Do you believe abortionist Henry Morgentaler deserves the Order of Canada? Press 1 for yes. Press 2 for no.”

More people in Nova Scotia (68 per cent), Prince Edward Island (67), and Manitoba (66) answered “no” than any other province or territory, followed closely behind by Saskatchewan (65), Alberta (64), Newfoundland and Labrador (64), New Brunswick (62), Ontario (58), the territories (57) and British Columbia (55).

In Quebec, only a slight majority favoured giving Morgentaler the Order of Canada, with 54 per cent approving the announcement compared to 46 per cent who were opposed.

CLC national president Jim Hughes said the poll shows that, “Whatever side of the abortion debate you are on, many Canadians from all walks of life felt this appointment went way too far and offended too many.”

There has been widespread discussion about Morgentaler and abortion since the July 1 announcement by Governor-General Michaelle Jean that the abortionist would be given the country’s highest honour. Hughes noted that seldom does the Order of Canada generate such debate and that the division is itself a reason that Morgentaler should not get the award. Angelina Steenstra, Canadian president of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and a CLC spokesperson on the Morgentaler file, said, “Giving an abortionist Canada’s highest honour is dividing the nation, contrary to the award’s original intent.”

Hughes added that Morgentaler is being recognized for his “accomplishment” of leading the fight to legalize abortion and committing untold thousands of abortions. Hughes noted: “This poll demonstrates what common sense tells us: killing babies is not something Canadians want to honour.”

The national media ignored the CLC-sponsored poll, with only LifeSiteNews and the Canadian Catholic News service giving it extensive coverage and Michael Coren mentioning it on his CTS television program.

Possible reasons for the media blackout include the traditions by which newsrooms operate. Many newspapers and broadcasters claim not to use interest group-sponsored polls and some have exclusivity contracts with other pollsters. An editor at a large daily newspaper told The Interim off the record that news outlets were unlikely to run a poll that contradicted previous polls they may have run.

On July 8, CanWest papers and Global TV ran stories on an Ipsos-Reid poll they commissioned that claimed two-thirds of Canadians approved of Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada. The poll had just 1,023 respondents. The Toronto Star commissioned Angus Reid Strategies and ran a story July 9 reporting that 60 per cent of Canadians support Morgentaler. Angus Reid Strategies surveyed 1,016 Canadians online.

The editor, who spoke to The Interim on the condition he not be identified, said that papers were unlikely to report on a poll that undermined polls they had commissioned just weeks earlier.

Hughes didn’t buy that. He said the media blackout was another example of the press’s pro-abortion bias. “They would have covered it if they wanted to – if it fit the story they wanted to tell.” Hughes noted that the sheer size of the poll – KLRVU had 10 times the number of respondents – was newsworthy.

Whatever reason is presented, pro-lifers are not accepting the excuses that might be offered for not covering the poll. As John-Henry Westen, editor of LifeSiteNews, said in considering the validity of the polling methods, “It is extremely difficult to find any reason beyond blatant media bias for the fact that such a massive poll on such a controversial subject received absolutely no coverage in the mainstream media.”

The national KLRVU poll received more than 13,324 responses, compared to most polls which have 1,000-1,300. Statistically, the format of the KLRVU poll, conducted July 17-21, is accurate 19 out of 20 times, with a margin of error of 1.5 per cent.