Scary statistics?

CanCon; Jun 13 2006
Type of WorkShort essay, blog or comment

Comment 1

Canadians increasingly ok with pedos?

I posted this: 19% of Canadians think adult-child sex is Ok.... Today there is an editorial about those stats here: Scary statistics! The main stats the author cites are:

  • Only 75% of Manitobans think pedophilia is immoral.
  • Only 77% of Albertans (where the editorial was published) do.
  • 91% of Quebeckers say it is immoral.
  • Only 74% of 18-24 year olds think it is immoral.

The author takes the low number of young people who disapprove as an
indication of a trend of growing acceptance, but it could just be
that they better remember what it is like to be 13 and want to have
sex with an older person and in time, as they forget and then have
their own kids, they too will become more opposed.

The editorial also raises an interesting possible equivocation. Yes,
the survey asked about "behaviour" people find immoral, but is the
behaviour that characterizes pedophilia thought to be having sex
with kids or merely "lusting after pre-pubescent kids". I think most
people responding to the survey are likely to think that the
question is asking about sexual acts, but the fact that the
editorial writer does not opens the question.

I also wonder about the Alberta vs Quebec numbers. It seems to me
like they should be the reverse of what they are. It is possible
that respondents in the different places are thinking of pedophilic
acts in different ways.


  • Quebeckers are so accepting of teen-adult sex that they think of "pedophilia" as meaning sex with pre-teens while
  •   Albertans, who, much like Americans, are likely to think of "pedophilia" as sex with someone under 18 (or, at least, under 16, as the new law proposes outlawing), so their low disapproval reflects a view on that.

Of course in the end the real answer is that if you want to really know what people think, you have to be more explicit in the questions. This is where Dave Riegel's survey comes in. It would be interesting to see what a general population sample of Canadians would say about those questions. For then there would be no
ambiguities about how the respondents were understanding the questions.

Editorial: Scary statistics!

June 13, 2006, The Edmund Sun

Looking at the "morality barometer" poll in yesterday's paper, we're
struck by several things, the first being that Leger Marketing
actually did a survey on how Canadians view a number of moral issues.

This is remarkable insofar as the Canadian establishment continually
tries to push moral and social issues off the table - witness the
complete lack of debate in this country over controversial topics
like abortion and gambling - claiming that Canadians are tolerant
and understanding and non-judgmental and it's only closed-minded
right-wingers from Alberta who are trying to push moral agendas on

The other thing that struck us about the poll was how Canadians
actually responded to the question, "Do you consider the following
behaviour immoral?" with the pollster asking it over and over again
with a new behaviour listed each time.

It turns out that despite the reluctance of politicians to talk about moral issues and the even bigger reluctance of many journalists in this country to write about them, Canadians have no difficulties, when asked, categorizing certain behaviours as moral or immoral.

Finally, the one thing that came leaping off the pollster report and
hit us squarely between the eyes was the result to the question on
how Canadians view pedophilia.

Overall, 81% of Canadians said that they considered pedophilia to be
immoral. Of all the immoral behaviours listed by Leger Marketing,
pedophilia - being sexually attracted to young children - had the
highest rate of condemnation by Canadians.

But flip the answer around, and we find a far more disturbing
statistic. If 81% of Canadians think pedophilia is immoral, then 19%
of Canadians either refused to answer or believe that pedophilia is,
in fact, a moral behaviour. A good behaviour. One that should not be
judged by society.

That's almost one in five people in this country! That's creepy
enough. It gets worse.

  • Only 77% of Albertans said pedophilia is immoral,
  • just two percentage points behind Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where the 75% condemnation was the lowest in Canada.
  • Quebecers are actually the least tolerant of pedophilia, with a full
    91% of them saying that it's immoral.

The Leger poll also offers up a statistic that suggests Canada's tolerance of pedophilia will slowly grow with time, noting that older Canadians are far more likely to see the practice as immoral versus those in the 18- to 24-year-old crowd, where only 74% agreed lusting after pre-pubescent kids is wrong.

Sure, this report doesn't mean that 19% of Canadians are pedophiles.
But surely if there was one behaviour in this world that could be
universally rebuked at a rate of 99% of higher, it would be
pedophilia. Apparently not.

It would seem that acceptance of pedophilia in Canada is already far
more mainstream than most Canadians would have thought possible.

Comment 2

19% of Canadians think adult-child sex is OK ...

... if you can believe a poll that just came out. When asked what
behaviour they consider immoral, Canadians said:

1. Pedophilia: 81%
2. Extra-marital affairs: 74%
3. Prostitution: 68%
4. Alcohol abuse: 65%
5. Sexual relations before age 16: 65%
6. Pornographic films: 58%
7. Blasphemy: 51%
8. Abortion: 34%
9. Homosexuality: 31%
10. Divorce: 17%
11. Contraception: 8%

Now, if 81% say it is immoral that means that 19% either said it was
not or refused to answer. There are always a few who won't answer,
although it's hard to see why one would be reluctant to admit
opposing adult-child sex.

Also interesting is #5 on the list since the government is currently
trying to raise the AOC from 14 to 16 (with a 5 year "close in age"
exemption). It looks like 35% think sex before 16 is fine, and, of
course, at least some of those who think it is immoral would still
oppose making it illegal. So public support for the new law is
unlikely to be strong outside a fringe religious right element.

News story: