October 17, 2014: The vast majority of CARP members approve of legalizing assisted dying, and they have for years, no matter how the question is asked. Agreement is increasing in recent years, as well. Two thirds of members would consider assisted dying for themselves if they were terminally ill, and a fifth know someone who has had assistance dying. There is wide (and sustained) agreement the decision on assisted dying is between a doctor and patient, or belongs to the patient alone. Few think the authorities should be involved.
The majority disagrees when asked if assisted dying should be permitted for those not terminally ill, but when asked to put a limit on access to assisted dying, the majority say any debilitating or degenerative condition justifies it. Most agree a doctor has to be involved in assistance in dying, but very few insist doctors need to take part against their consciences. About half agree a non-medical professional like a doula could supervise.
When asked how government should react to assisted dying, the majority call for legalization now, while the remainder calls for decriminalization. Very few want to see current penalties enforced or increased. Just less than half (the plurality) agree Canada doesn’t need laws governing assisted dying.
There is very wide approval of Quebec’s Bill 52 and even wider agreement the bill offers the requisite protection to unwilling or incompetent patients. In addition, a very strong majority approve of MP Stephen Fletchers private members bill on assisted dying, which is similar to Quebec’s Bill 52. In short, the vast majority of members agree that end-of-life care, including assisted dying, is a right for every Canadian.
Just less than half of members will vote Liberal if the election were held today, while just more than one third would vote Conservative. One tenth or so will vote NDP.