As Canada was about to celebrate its first centenary, a series of legislative proposals were under consideration by the federal government. In 1967, under Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, the first drafts to legalize divorce and remove birth control from the Criminal Code were being developed.
The Omnibus Bill that was eventually approved by Parliament also dealt with issues such as abortion and homosexuality. At the time, Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau explained that the changes were aimed at adapting “the laws of the country to contemporary society”.
Research Co. and Glacier Media ask Canadians for their moral views on 21 different issues each year. More than five decades have passed since the laws of the land changed, and most Canadians are not personally discouraged by many practices that are no longer illegal.
More than two-thirds of Canadians consider four activities to be “morally acceptable”:
• Contraception (75%, down one point since our last request in 2021);
• Divorce (73%, down four points);
• Sex between an unmarried man and woman (69%, down three points) and;
• Having a child out of wedlock (69%, unchanged).
Two other issues are a bit more controversial in the minds of Canadians. While 59% of the country’s people believe that same-sex sexual relations are “morally acceptable” (down three points), more than a quarter (27%, up three points) see it as “morally reprehensible”.
The proportion of Canadians who express moral apprehensions about homosexuality rises to 36% among respondents of South Asian origin, 39% among those of East Asian origin and 41% among voters in Conservative Party of Canada in 2021.
In a recent national poll, we learned that Canadians maintain a high level of support for both the continuation of same-sex marriage (66%) and the decision to ban the practice of “conversion therapy” at the federal level. (62%). ). Yet, looking strictly at personal morality, the acceptability of same-sex relationships is lower relative to what Canadians think of divorce and birth control.
More than half of Canadians (53%) recently told us they weren’t particularly excited about a new debate on abortion. Asked about their moral view of termination of pregnancy, 55% of Canadians (down two points since 2020) think it is “morally acceptable”, while 29% (up four points) consider the practice as “morally reprehensible”.
Again, the biggest differences are related to politics and ethnicity.
Abortion is “morally acceptable” for the majority of Canadians who voted for the New Democratic Party (NDP) (71%) and the Liberal Party of Canada (60%) last year, but only 47% of Conservatives share this point of view. to see. While 65 percent of Canadians of European descent have no moral qualms about pregnancy termination, the proportion drops sharply among East Asians (50 percent) and South Asians (39 percent). ).
Other topics related to the “bedrooms of the nation” are decidedly more controversial.
Less than a third of Canadians believe that pornography (31%, unchanged) and prostitution (30%, down three points) are “morally acceptable”. They are less likely to feel the same way about polygamy (19%, unchanged), married men and/or women having an affair (16%, down two points) and pedophilia (4%, down one point).
With regard to prostitution and pornography, the gender gap has remained constant. Nearly two in five men find every problem acceptable (38% and 37%, respectively). The figures are significantly lower for women (23% and 24%, respectively).
There was no change when Canadians rated the acceptability of using stem cells obtained from human embryos (55%), suicide (18%) and human cloning (12%).
When it comes to animal-related issues, few Canadians morally accept practices such as buying and wearing animal fur clothing (36%, down two points), using animals for testing (25%, up one point) and animal cloning (19%, unchanged).
The needle has moved on the moral relevance of the game (52%, down five points). The death penalty, which has remained a controversial topic over the years, is seen as “morally acceptable” by 40% of Canadians (up one point) – including 57% of Conservative voters.
Two other issues deserve special mention. The federal government will need to find a way to discuss the scope of legislation that allows medical assistance in dying and address the opioid crisis in a way that goes beyond the photo shoot.
Today, more than three in five Canadians (61%, down four points) believe physician-assisted dying is “morally acceptable,” but only 18% (down two points) believe the same about illegal drug use.
Canadians continue to look down on people who choose to use illegal substances. This partly explains why proposals to decriminalize all drugs for personal use have not been supported by the majority of people in the country.
Mario Canseco is president of Research Co.
The findings are based on an online survey conducted May 7-9, 2022 of 1,000 adults in Canada. The data was statistically weighted according to Canadian census counts for age, sex and region. The margin of error, which measures sample variability, is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.