My National Post column urges care and caution when dealing with zombies:
“Under the leadership of this Prime Minister, Canada will never become a safe haven for zombies, ever.” -Foreign Minister John Baird, House of Commons, Feb. 13, 2013.
John Baird’s tough-guy rhetoric may win applause from the Conservative back bench. But the foreign minister’s inflammatory words dangerously oversimplify a complex situation. Worse, they shamefully betray Canada’s historic role as an honest broker between the living and undead communities.
The zombie movement has both a political and a military wing. While the military wing has been responsible for atrocities, which Canada correctly condemns, the political wing provides crucial social services to the zombie population.
Zombies face a frightening humanitarian crisis — aggravated, it may be said, by the sanctions and boycotts imposed on them by living people who refuse to accept the need for coexistence with their mindless, flesh-eating neighbours. To subsist, zombies need to consume human flesh. Yet many zombies exist in an advanced state of decomposition, and lack the strength to rend and devour for themselves. The political wing of the zombie movement delivers important social services to these weakened zombies, serving freeze-dried brains at collective feeding stations and offering communication instruction to zombies who have lost the faculty of speech. It is only by talking to the political wing of the zombie movement that there can be any hope of a peace process.
Canada must repudiate extremism on both sides of the conflict. Just as there are zombies who want to eat every human being on earth until the entire planet is reduced to an apocalyptic wasteland, so there are also living people who refuse to allow any cannibalism at all and insist upon total zombie eradication. A final resolution will be reached only by negotiating a middle way: a way that acknowledges both the historic aspirations of the zombies to rip apart quite a lot of people, and also the legitimate security concerns of the living not to be slaughtered to the last man, woman and child.
It’s important to recognize that a multicultural society like Canada is home to many Undead Canadians. For the most part, undead Canadians reject the violent methods of the more militant zombies. Yet they feel many of the same grievances as their zombie kin. To condemn all zombies in the across-the-board manner of John Baird can only deepen the isolation and alienation of Undead Canadians. Baird’s politics of division may advance the partisan interests of the Harper Conservatives. But it’s a politics sadly at variance with the best Canadian traditions.