OTTAWA, July 20, 2001 ( – The results of an April Pollara poll on stem cell research commissioned by Health Canada were released only today by the Ottawa Citizen. The Citizen reports that the federal poll claims, “the vast majority of Canadians are in favour of using donated human embryos for stem cell research.” However, the Citizen fails to mention the questions that were posed, leading to concerns by some about possible bias in the polling method. A Pollara representative told LifeSite that the poll questions had to be released by Health Canada. Health Canada could not provide the poll information by press time.

The poll says 85% of Canadians say it is acceptable to take stem cells from donated human embryos, but over half would require some regulation. Another 22% are “vehemently opposed” to live human embryos being used for experimentation. The Citizen reports that Health Minister Allan Rock received the results of the poll in April and the following month tabled draft legislation tailored to the results of the poll.

Mary Ellen Douglas of Campaign Life Coalition commented that the results of such polls in the US have varied from 70% against to 70% in favour based on the wording of the poll. “Those answering the poll must be informed that they are deciding on the legitimacy of experiments on live human embryos which will kill those embryos to produce stem cells. They must also be told that there is an equally promising ethical alternative – adult stem cell research – which does not involve the destructive use of human embryos,” said Douglas.

In related news the National Post reports that the Canadian debate around the use of live human embryos for experimental stem cell research is heating up with at least 16 patent applications pending at the Canadian Patent Office for the products of the controversial research. In one application, a group of Korean scientists wants a Canadian patent on a method “for producing human cloned embryos … to obtain the human embryonic stem cells, which may be widely applied in biological and medical fields.’‘

See the Ottawa Citizen and National Post coverage: