Majority of Canadians Support Bringing Back Death Penalty for Murder, Poll Shows

The majority of Canadians would agree with bringing back the death penalty for murder, according to a new poll by Research Co.

Of 1,000 Canadian adults polled between March 10 to March 12, 54 percent said they supported capital punishment for those convicted of murder, a three point increase since a similar poll roughly one year ago, in February 2022.

Albertans were most in favour of the death penalty at 62 percent, following by Saskatchewan and Manitoba, at 60 percent. Ontario and British Columbia each sat at 58 percent respectively, with Atlantic Canada at 55 percent.

Those in Quebec were least in favour of capital punishment, as the death penalty is sometimes referred, at 43 percent.

Differences emerged by age categories. According to the poll, 59 percent, or three-in-five Canadians, aged 55 and over, would agree with reinstating the death penalty. The numbers sit at 54 percent among those aged 35 to 54, and at 50 percent among those aged 18 to 34.

Support for the death penalty by vote in the 2021 federal election saw the highest support among Conservative Party voters at 71 percent, followed by NDP voters at 49 percent, and Liberal Party voters at 48 percent, according to the poll.

When asked, 53 percent of Canadians expressed a preference for sentencing convicted murders to life in prison with no parole, while 37 percent favoured the death penalty.

Of those completely opposed, 25 percent of Canadians answered it was “never” appropriate, while one in ten said it was “always appropriate. A majority, 58 percent, answered it was “sometimes” appropriate.

Of those who are opposed to state executions for murder, 66 percent indicated their primary concern was the possibility of wrongful conviction and execution.

“Other reasons cited by opponents of capital punishment are feeling that it is wrong to take a convicted murderer’s own life (42%), calling for murderers to do their time in prison, as indicated by a judge (41%), doubting that the death penalty will work as a deterrent (39%) and thinking that murderers can be rehabilitated (20%),” said Research Co.

Of those who responded with support for the death penalty, 57 percent felt it would be a deterrent for other potential murderers, 55 percent felt it fit the crime because of taking a life, and 51 percent responded that it would save taxpayers money from keeping criminals incarcerated.

Only 46 percent of those who favoured state executions felt it would provide closure to the families of murder victims, and 30 percent indicated they believe murderers cannot be rehabilitated, the poll showed.

Canada has not had state executions permissible by law since 1998, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia. The last executions took place in 1962, and the federal government completely abolished capital punishment in 1998.

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