Quebec cancels zombie apocalypse training scenario

The provincial government has stepped in to cancel plans for a zombie-themed emergency training exercise.

There will be no zombie apocalypse in Quebec next week.

The provincial government has stepped in to cancel plans for a zombie-themed emergency training exercise.

Participants at an annual symposium on civil security had been planning to use a hypothetical zombie attack to test emergency preparedness.

Such a theme has been used elsewhere. The logic behind it is to use something that can never actually occur, as opposed to a flood or an ice storm, because that way emergency-preparedness officials might think of new problems and solutions.

News of the plan had elicited many guffaws this week, along with some complaints about wasteful government spending.

So now the provincial cabinet has stepped in. Public Security Minister Stéphane Bergeron announced in a press release Thursday that he has ordered a change of plans.

The new scenario will simulate a flood.

"I thought … the theme of the workshop had taken on a greater importance than its goal and that it was better to change it," Bergeron said in a statement.

He said he took the decision "so as not to undermine the real purpose of the activity, which is and remains a very important exercise for civil security."

Bergeron said he decided to make the change after discussing it with others in the department.

The idea of a zombie apocalypse even made its way to the House of Commons on Wednesday, where the NDP asked the Conservatives about the country's level of zombie preparedness.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird assured that "Canada would never be a safe haven for zombies."

A civil servant with Quebec's civil security department had told The Canadian Press earlier this week that the zombie exercise, used in the United States and elsewhere in Canada in recent years, is designed to get officials to think outside the box.

Quebec's three-day symposium, into its 13th year, brings together several hundred first responders, civil-security experts, fire-fighters and municipal officials.

Each day deals with three different phases: the emergency itself, the aftermath, and the recovery. The decisions taken one day will fold into the next.

But now, instead of of zombies, officials will pretend to be dealing with floods frequently created by the annual spring thaw.