More than eight out of 10 Quebecers support the legalization of euthanasia, according to a survey commissioned by CBC and Radio-Canada.
At least 83 per cent of Quebecers polled earlier this month agree that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide should be allowed in certain cases.
The poll, conducted between Nov. 5 and 15, and based on 2,200 telephone interviews, also found a minority of respondents would choose euthanasia for themselves or a loved one.
The survey by the Centre de recherche d'opinion publique (known as CROP) was released Sunday. It was conducted as a provincial commission hosts public meetings to study the divisive issue.
According to the poll:
- Men, at 89 per cent, are slightly more open to euthanasia than women, at 79 per cent.
- Only 13 per cent of francophones are opposed to legal euthanasia, compared to 30 per cent of non-francophones.
- Poll results varied from urban to rural areas.
- Quebecers in the Mauricie region reported the highest degree of support for euthanasia.
- More than eight out of 10 people admitted they've never had to face any situation involving terminal illness and the possibility of ending a life.
Beliefs about euthanasia are somewhat influenced by "language and culture," said CROP vice-president Sylvain Gauthier. "Without generalizing, anglophones and allophones are traditionally characterized by more conservative values than francophones."
Among euthanasia opponents, most fear the procedure would be exploited.
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Many people oppose euthanasia on religious grounds, and believe it is equivalent to murder.
The poll has a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
A provincial committee called Dying with Dignity is travelling across Quebec to gauge public opinion on euthanasia ahead of any legal review of current rules.