Data Bits

"Data Bit" is a feature that has appeared in Free To Go, the cooperatively-produced newsletter of Canada's anglophone right-to-die groups, since issue 6:1 (Jan.-Mar. 2004).

Issue 9:4 (Oct.-Dec. 2007)

The number: 91%

     What it is:
The level of support for Robert Latimer, expressed by disagreement with the Parole Board's decision to refuse day parole to him, among 2931 readers of the Winnipeg Free Press.

Sympathy with Robert seems to be increasing as his ordeal drags on and on. Many Canadians are probably thinking "Enough already!"

     When published:
: December 7, 2007 (in Winnipeg Free Press, page A12)

Issue 9:2 (Apr.-Jun. 2007)

The first number: 6%

     What it is:
The percentage of Canadian palliative-care patients (22 respondents from a survey of 379) who said that if physician-assisted suicide were available to them, they would immediately request it.

40,000 is a rough estimate of how many Canadians are currently receiving palliative or hospice care. If the ratio found in the survey applies throughout this group, over 2000 suffering Canadians are currently being denied the treatment they most desire.

     When published:
May 2007 (in Health Psychology vol. 26, no. 3, pages 314-323)

     For more information:

The second number: 76%

     What it is:
The percentage of Canadians (in a survey of 1005) who said they agree with the right-to-die concept for people who want to die instead of enduring the full course of an incurable illness.

Support was highest in Quebec (87%) and lowest in Alberta (66%). Support was higher among people with a university degree (79%) than among people who did not have a high-school diploma (38%).

     When published:
June 10, 2007

     For more information:

Issue 6:3 (Jul.-Sep. 2004)

The number: 83%

     What it is:
When the Globe and Mail asked "Should Canada legalize merciful euthanasia if the patient wants to die and the process takes place under a doctor's supervision?", this many respondents voted "Yes". The total number of respondents was 15,076.

     What it suggests:
Support for aid in dying remains strong among Canadians.

     When published:
Sept. 28, 2004

     For more information:

Gallup (Canada) Poll Results

"When a person has an incurable disease that is immediately life-threatening* and causes that person to experience great suffering, do you, or do you not think that competent doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient's life through mercy killing, if the patient has made a formal request in writing?"

* Prior to 1995 the question did not state that the disease was immediately life-threatening.

The precise dates and percentages are as follows:

(First date shown is date of data collection; parenthesized date is date of publication)

                                     Yes No

Aug. 1968 (Aug. 1968)  45  43
Mar. 1974 (May  1974)  55  35
Sep. 1979 (Oct.  1979)  68  23
Feb. 1984 (Apr. 1984)   66  24

Jun. 1989 (Jul.   1989)   77  17
Aug. 1990 (Aug. 1990)  78  14
Oct. 1991 (Nov.  1991)  75  17
Oct. 1992 (Nov.  1992)  77  17

Mar. 1994 (Apr.  1994?) 75 17
Dec. 1994 (Jan.  1995)   76  16
Jul. 1995 (Aug.    1995)  75  17
Nov. 1997 (Mar.   1998)  76  18

Nov. 1998 (Dec. 1998)   77  19
Nov. 1999 (Dec. 1999)   75  21
Dec. 2000 (Jan.  2001)   72  21
Jan. 2002 (Feb.  2002)   79  19