LifeCanada commissioned the Environics Research Group to do a poll on euthanasia and they found that despite the fact 61% of Canadians say they favour legalizing euthanasia, the majority of even those who support it are worried about abuses. The National Post reports:
Fifty-five per cent of those who expressed strong support for euthanasia are worried that a “significant number” of people could be put to death against their wishes, according to the pollster. Among those showing tentative support, that number rose to 72%.
A plurality of those who tentatively support euthanasia would like to first see a focus on providing proper palliative care: 43% for first improving such care compared to 38% favouring immediate legalization. There seems to be a great deal of unease surrounding the legalization of euthanasia. Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, noted that the poll also found:
69% stated that palliative/hospice care should have a greater priority while only 18% thought that legalizing euthanasia was a greater priority. 5% thought that both should be a priority while the others did not know.
In other words, while many people support euthanasia they prefer to see life-affirming policies that would address one of the root causes for the demand for euthanasia. In other words, the priority should be on caring for people, not killing them. The Post quotes Derek Leebosh, an Environics senior researcher who produced the poll, who said: “We know that Canadians are concerned about the consequences of legalized euthanasia and they’re open to arguments against [it].”