Poll: Canadians Back Gay Marriage and Abortion, But Want Capital Punishment Reinstated

A nationwide poll has revealed that Canadians are largely in favor of abortion and same-sex marriage, but also that two thirds of the population support the death penalty.

The survey asked respondents several questions on abortion, and almost half, or 49 percent, said that "abortion should be permitted whenever a woman decides she wants one," which is in line with government policy – Canada is one of the few nations in the world that has no barriers to abortion, the LeaderPost reported.

Forty-five percent of Canadians, however, think that there still needs to be some protection for the unborn, as they responded that abortion should "be permitted in certain circumstances." Only six percent were against any and all types of abortion, the poll commissioned by Ipsos Reid showed.

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Canadians proved themselves to be on the liberal side when it comes to same-sex marriage as well. The northern neighbor of the U.S. legalized gay marriage in 2005, and 62 percent of respondents to the survey stated that same-sex marriage "should be fully recognized and equal to conventional heterosexual marriage." Twenty percent said that it should only be permitted as far as civil unions go, while 18 percent said that same-sex unions are wrong and should be outlawed all together.

Ipsos Reid president Darrell Bricker reflected on the poll by commenting that the results are reflective of the "trend toward tolerance" in Canada.

"Is the struggle for equality over for the gay and lesbian and transgender people of this country? No. There's still more people to convince. But generally they are winning," Bricker said on the issue of same-sex marriage.

"What this says to me is that Canadians are generally supportive of a woman's choice but they don't want the choice to be taken frivolously," he said of the abortion results. "For the most part what they would like to see is a woman being able to make that decision. The current Canadian legal situation is what they prefer. Do they actually like women pursuing abortions? The answer is no. They don't."

One issue that Canadians disagreed upon with the government, however, was capital punishment. Canada made the death sentence illegal in 1975, but 65 percent of respondents to the poll said that they want to see it return. Around one-third, or 35 percent, said they agreed that capital punishment should remain banned. Support for capital punishment has actually risen in the past decade, as back in 2001 it only held a 52 percent approval rate.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused attempts to reopen the abortion or death penalty debates in the country, choosing to allow the issues to lie.

"I personally think there are times where capital punishment is appropriate," Harper has said. "But I've also committed that I'm not, you know, in the next Parliament (there are)… no plans to bring that issue forward.''

The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted between June 11-18 and June 20-25 and surveyed 1,101 Canadians.

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