Canadian Media News Blackout on Massive Poll Showing Majority Oppose Morgentaler Award



July 30, 2008

By John-Henry Westen

July 29, 2008 ( – Last week, Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of the pro-life movement in Canada, released the results of a massive poll (over 13,000 respondents) which found that 56% of Canadians oppose the nomination of abortionist Henry Morgentaler to the Order of Canada.  Despite the fact that the subject was still very much in the Canadian spotlight, the mainstream media in Canada gave no coverage to the poll whatsoever.  However, extensive coverage was given to a poll conducted ten days earlier with only 1000 respondents which found that some two thirds of Canadians support giving the award to Morgentaler.

Since the July 1 announcement of the Morgentaler award, there has been an outcry from Canadians the likes of which has not been seen on anything having to do with the issue of abortion in some 20 years.  For the first time in history the Order of Canada was returned by numerous recipients, and the number of those returning their awards is continuing. 

On July 3 online polls across the country showed the vast majority of Canadians opposed the award. A Newstalk 650 showed 85% opposed, a Calgary Herald showed 77.95% against, a VOCM’s poll showed 80% against, a Winnipeg Sun’s poll showed 76% against.  Even a CNews poll with the stark choice of “Yes, he’s a champion of women’s rights,” or “No, he’s a murderer,” found more agreeing with Morgentaler being dubbed a ‘murderer’.  The largest of such opt-in polls were the CTV poll, with more that 16,000 respondents, and the Globe and Mail poll, with over 20,000 respondents.  The CTV poll showed 61% opposed and 39% in favour.

Interestingly, the Globe and Mail poll was not available on their website, despite the fact that the site has an extensive archive of past polls. An e-mail sent to the Globe seeking an explanation for the disappearance of the poll was not returned.

The last sighting of the Globe poll showed 56% of votes (or 11,467) being against Morgentaler’s receiving the award, and 44% (or 8,931) being in favour. And that is a poll conducted by a very pro-abortion newspaper which one would expect to have many like-minded readers.

With that build-up, the publication of a July 4-7 Ipsos Reid poll of 1000 Canadians that concluded that two-thirds of Canadians backed the Morgentaler award seemed very doubtful.  In any case, the Ipos Reid poll received massive coverage in media outlets from coast to coast.

In response Campaign Life Coalition decided to commission a much larger poll that could reach a much greater sampling of the Canadian public. The CLC poll contacted 157,165 household between July 17-21 and had over 13,000 respondents, with the result showing that 56% of Canadians oppose the Morgentaler award.  Every major news outlet in the country received notice of the poll results through Canada News Wire.

The poll was conducted with a strictly unbiased methodology by a private polling company called KlrVu based in Manitoba.  KlrVu pollster Allan Bruinooge explained to that he contracted a reputable independent company, Info Canada, for a random phone list of over 150,000 Canadian households weighted according to the population distribution in the nation as published by Statistics Canada. 

Bruinooge explained that a professional voice was used for the recorded simple question: “Do you believe abortionist Henry Morgentaler deserves the Order of Canada Press 1 for Yes Press 2 for No.”  The voice was recorded ten times in order to remove any inflections which could bias the result.

The response rate was 8%, which is on the low side of the average range, and is expected during the summer vacation period.  The touch tone response technology is being used increasingly by pollsters as it has been found to be a much more affordable and yet accurate technology.

Pro-abortion bloggers attempted to discredit the pollster, suggesting that because the owner was the brother of a Conservative politician opposed to abortion, that somehow the pollster would fudge the results.  However, taking such an accusation seriously would discredit every pollster in the country, since most are politically aligned.  Specifically it would touch one of the nation’s largest pollsters, Leger Marketing.

Jean Marc Léger, who is the President of Leger Marketing, is the brother of Nicole Léger, a Member of the Provincial Parliament for Pointe- aux-Trembles in the east end of Montreal. Their father, Marcel, was Minister of the Environment and tourism under Lévesque, and actually co-founded Léger Léger with Jean- Marc.

With all this information in hand, it becomes extremely difficult to find any reason beyond blatant media bias for the fact that such a massive poll on such a controversial subject received absolutely no coverage in the mainstream media.

One suggestion offered as to why the poll was not covered was that the pollster KlrVu is a relatively new company.  Painful experience has shown, however, that polls conducted by even the most widely quoted pollsters will not receive coverage if they are pro-life. 

Since 2002, Life Canada, the educational arm of the pro-life movement, has contracted the most popular pollsters to gauge public opinion on abortion in Canada and found consistently that two-thirds of Canadians support at least some legal protection for unborn children.  Life Canada President Joanne Byfield told that press releases to all media, including the costly Canada News Wire, garnered no coverage for the poll from the mainstream media.

Only last year did the Life Canada poll finally receive some modest mainstream media coverage.  How?  MP Ken Epp mentioned the poll numbers during his introduction of his Unborn Victims of Crime Act, bill C-484, which would make it a separate crime to injure or kill an unborn child in an attack on its mother.

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