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Death penalty supported by most Canadians for murder: poll

A new poll by Research Co. has found that the majority of Canadians support restoring the death penalty for murder.

According to the poll, 54% of Canadians support the use of capital punishment for murder convictions, up three points from a similar poll conducted by the group in February 2022.

Data from Research Co. shows that Albertans are more likely to support the death penalty with the highest percentage of 62%.

Support for capital punishment in Saskatchewan and Manitoba is also high at 60%, while 58% of residents in Ontario and British Columbia agree. More than half (55%) of residents of Atlantic Canada and 43% of residents of Quebec said they favor the return of the death penalty.

“Nearly three in five Canadians aged 55 and older (59%, up four points) would welcome the return of the death penalty,” Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., said in a statement. “The numbers are slightly lower among those aged 35 to 54 (54%, up three points) and among those aged 18 to 34 (50%, up three points).”

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

As for the type of sentence, 53% (up one point) said they would prefer the killers to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, while 37% would prefer the death penalty .

Fewer Canadians (25%) say the death penalty is “never” appropriate and fewer than that (9%, down two points) think it “always” appropriate.

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

According to the data, 66% of Canadians who oppose the return of the death penalty are worried about someone being wrongfully convicted and executed.

The report says 42% believe it is wrong to end the life of a convicted murderer, while 41% favor imprisonment, as indicated by a judge.

Additionally, most supporters of the death penalty (57%) believe it will have a deterrent effect on potential killings, while 55% say it fits the crime because a convicted murderer has killed.

Almost half of respondents (51%) think the death penalty will save taxpayers money in relation to the costs associated with keeping someone behind bars.

Similarly, 46% of supporters of the death penalty believe it would end the families of murder victims while 30% believe that murderers cannot be rehabilitated.

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


The findings are based on an online survey conducted March 10-12, 2023 of 1,000 Canadian adults. The data was statistically weighted according to Canadian census counts for age, sex and region. Results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting for this story was paid for through the Meta-funded Afghan Journalists in Residence project.

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