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Most Canadians support death penalty for murderers, poll shows

This undated stock photo shows a person in a prison cell. (Pexels) This undated stock photo shows a person in a prison cell. (Pexels)
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A new poll conducted by Research Co. has found that the majority of Canadians support reinstating the death penalty for murder.

According to the survey, 54 per cent of Canadians support relying on capital punishment on murder conviction, up three points since a similar survey conducted by the group in February 2022.

Research Co.’s data shows that Albertans are more likely in favor of the death penalty with the highest percentage of 62 per cent.

Support for capital punishment in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are also high at 60 per cent while 58 per cent of Ontario and B.C. residents feel the same way. Over half (55 per cent) of Atlantic Canada and 43 per cent of Quebec residents said they welcome the return of the death penalty.

“Almost three-in-five Canadians aged 55 and over (59 per cent, up four points) would welcome the return of the death penalty,” Research Co. President Mario Canseco said in a news release. “The numbers are slightly lower among those aged 35-to-54 (54 per cent, up three points) and those aged 18-to-34 (50 per cent, up three points).”

Conservative Party voters are most likely to welcome the punishment with 71 per cent support (up eight points) while the support is lower (49 per cent, down three points) among those who voted for the NDP in 2021 and the Liberal Party (48 per cent, down one point).

When it comes to the type of punishment, 53 per cent (up one point) said they prefer murderers should be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole while 37 per cent would prefer the death penalty.

Fewer Canadians (25 per cent) stated the death penalty is “never” appropriate and fewer than that (9 per cent, down two points) deem it “always” appropriate.

However, the majority of Canadians (58 per cent) believe that the death penalty is “sometimes” appropriate, which is up four points from last year.

According to the data, 66 per cent of Canadians, who oppose the return of the death penalty, worried about the possibility of a person being wrongly convicted and executed.

The report said 42 per cent think that it is wrong to take a convicted murderer’s own life while 41 per cent in favor to do their time in prison as indicated by a judge.

In addition, most supporters of the death penalty, (57 per cent) believe it will serve as a deterrent for potential murders while 55 per cent say it fits the crime because a convicted murderer has taken a life.

Almost more than half of respondents (51 per cent) believe that the death penalty will save taxpayers money compared to the costs associated with keeping a person behind bars.

Likewise, 46 per cent of supporters of capital punishment think it would provide closure to the families of murder victims while 30 per cent believe murderers cannot be rehabilitated.

The death penalty in Canada was abolished in 1976, but even before that, federal governments had regularly commuted death sentences to life imprisonment. The last executions in Canada took place in 1962.

METHODOLOGY

The results are based on an online survey conducted from March 10 to March 12, 2023, among 1,000 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The results are considered accurate within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

 

Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.

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