Former Canadian Minister of Defence
Paul Hellyer, a former Minister of Defence
in the Pearson Government, has announced his belief that UFOs are real and
that the US is developing weapons systems for space which are to be used
against alien craft entering earth's airspace. He voiced his opinions at
the recent "2005 Toronto Exopolitics Symposium". Exopolitics is a new term
used to describe the study of the politics of extraterrestrial contact. It
is usually discussed in a context which assumes that enough evidence
exists from existing UFO reports to conclude that some UFOs are craft that
are piloted by beings originating from other planets and solar systems.
Hellyer's comments received some coverage in the national media and
stirred some interest and reaction from the public, mostly from those who
have some interest in UFOs.
Hellyer's History as Political Nomad
Paul Hellyer was first elected as a Liberal from Toronto's Davenport
riding in 1949. He was, at that time, the youngest MP to serve in Canada's
parliament. He served as a parliamentary assistant to the Minister of
National Defence and then went on to serve as the Associate Minister of
Defence in the cabinet of Prime Minister Louis Saint-Laurent. He later
served as Minister of National Defence in Prime Minister Pearson's cabinet
in the mid 1960s and served as Minister of Transport in the cabinet of
Prime Minister Trudeau. His most notable and controversial achievement was
the integration and unification of Canada's army, navy and air forces into
a single organization, the Canadian Forces. At the time, unification
sparked considerable negative reaction from many members of the armed
forces who objected to the manner in which military traditions such as
separate and unique uniforms were discarded.
After resigning from cabinet in a dispute with Trudeau, Hellyer sat as an
independent and later formed a political party, the Action Canada Party,
before crossing to join the Progressive Conservative Party. He failed in a
run for the leadership of the PCs before leaving that party to rejoin the
Liberals where he failed to secure a nomination. He later went on to form
the Canadian Action Party in 1995.
In terms of influence, the peak of his political career was probably in
his earlier years when he served as a cabinet minister. His political
views gravitated towards concerns about the threats to Canada's
sovereignty posed by US political and economic influence in Canadian
affairs. In recent years he is one of many prominent Canadians who have
opposed Canadian support and participation in the US National Missile
Defense program (NMD) and supported calls for a ban on weapons in space.
It is through these contacts that he began to encounter the views of
persons who believe that the US is planning space based weapons systems to
be deployed against ET controlled vehicles entering earth's atmosphere
Paul Hellyer states that his beliefs in ET visitation do not relate back
to insider knowledge obtained from his time spent as Minister of National
Defence from 1963 to 1967. At that time he was largely consumed by other
pressing public policy priorities and paid scant attention to high profile
UFO encounters like the Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia incident in October 1967
or the Falcon Lake, Manitoba encounter in May 1967 where Stephen Mickalak
received chest burns from a hovering UFO.
Roswell Writings Change Hellyer's Views
Hellyer states his recent interest in UFOs was prompted by viewing Peter
Jennings TV documentary on the topic. He later read "The Day After
Roswell" by Col. Philip J. Corso, who once served as the head of the
Foreign Technology Desk at the US Army's Research and Development
department. In his book, Corso asserts that parts from a crashed alien
vehicle were recovered from the July 1947 incident at Roswell, New Mexico
which the US Army Air Force later explained as a weather balloon. Corso
states some parts were transferred to a "file cabinet" at the Pentagon
where they were used to guide developments in several technologies such as
integrated circuits, night vision systems and lasers.
Col. Philip John Corso
Author of controversial book, "The Day After Roswell"
Many UFOlogists dispute conclusions that a UFO crashed at Roswell,
New Mexico in 1947. Others do not believe Corso's specific allegations in
his book relating to his role in applying ET derived technologies from
this alleged crashed UFO to practical recent technological innovations.
Stanton Friedman is a nuclear physicist who investigated Roswell and has
books about the Roswell crash and MJ-12, the alleged top secret US
committee created to study UFOs. Friedman, who now resides in New
Brunswick, casts doubts on Corso's claims that he was the central figure
responsible for seeding technology derived from wreckage taken from the ET
spaceship which (allegedly) crashed at Roswell. In response to those who
question how he came to believe the contents of this specific book,
Hellyer states that he personally spoke with an unnamed US General who
assured him that all of this and more was true.
Exopolitics Versus the UFO Fundamentalists
For some UFOlogists, Hellyer's foray into Exopolitics was not welcomed.
The very notion of a study of the politics of extraterrestrial contact is
hotly contested by many as they feel that UFOlogists must focus on the
scientific investigation of UFO phenomena. Some reason that there is
insufficient evidence to conclude that some UFOs may be vehicles
incorporating technology far beyond those developed by earth civilization.
The reality is that all of this is mostly a debate happening amongst a
very small group of researchers and interested persons that has little
measurable impact on the information shared through mass media outlets
like television, radio and newspapers.
There are few celebrities of any sort who want to risk their profile and
public following to publicly state their views on the possible importance
posed by UFO encounters, especially if some have extraterrestrial origins.
Few politicians have been brave enough to face the ridicule posed by
suggesting there might be anything worthwhile to gain through the study of
UFOs. President Carter and President Reagan both spoke about personal UFO
encounters but made few other public statements about the policy
implications posed by these events.
It might be expected that any viewpoint supporting the possible reality of
ET visitation to the planet might be welcomed by those UFOlogist's who
claim to be open to this possibility. But due to deep divisions between
some UFOlogists and persons who advance the study of exopolitics, this has
not been the case.
As an example, Paul Hellyer's statements to the Exopolitics conference in
Toronto were mocked and ridiculed by filmmaker Paul Kimball of Redstar
Films based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kimball's views are of some
significance as he is one of the few Canadians to have an interest and
financial stake in producing documentary films on UFO related topics. His
documentaries include "Stanton T. Friedman IS Real" and "Do You Believe in
Majic?" He is currently working on film documentaries on cattle
mutilations and the ten best UFO cases.
Kimball Believes Hellyer Should Have Known UFO Secrets
UFO Documentary Filmmaker
One of Kimball's posts on his weblog "The Other Side of Truth"
(http://redstarfilms.blogspot.com/) was largely focussed on heaping scorn
on Hellyer's nomadic political career "Ladies and Gentlemen – Meet the
REAL Paul Hellyer". His earlier post on Hellyer "Paul Hellyer – The Big
Fish Flops" raised more specific issues relating to Hellyer's statement.
Kimball's opinion is that if anyone would know about UFO secrets, it would
have been Hellyer:
"Because if anyone in Canada
would have known about the Cosmic Watergate, and UFO secrets, and alien
bases, etc. etc., it would have been the Minister of National Defence in
the mid 1960s."
This statement assumes that the Minister of National Defence is privy to
all secrets contained within the Department of National Defence. It
further assumes that any questions concerning the security implications of
UFO incursions into Canadian air space would require a continuing policy
review from the Minister of National Defence. What if Canadian policy on
the security implications of UFOs was already determined by our
participation in NORAD continental air defence, established back in the
US Policy Was to Debunk UFOs
There is documentation to suggest that there was considerable concern
about the possible security risks posed by UFOs during the early post
World War 2 time period. The US Air Force initiated several studies of
UFOs to evaluate the potential threat to national security. It was
initially thought that the UFOs might be secret weapons produced by
Germany or the Soviet Union. It was later determined that the UFOs were
not foreign developed weapons systems and one study in the US Air Force
concluded some UFOs possibly had an "interplanetary origin". In his UFO
books, Major Donald Keyhoe documented the struggle in the US Air Force
between those who favoured open sharing and disclosure of UFO information
with the public and "the silence group" who feared that the public was not
prepared for this information and wanted to keep all unsolved reports
The CIA sponsored Robertson Panel Report in 1953 appears to have set the
policy direction for US government agencies including intelligence and
military agencies regarding UFOs. It suggested that the credible UFO
reports should be debunked, that only reports of easily explainable
occurrences of meteors and such should be publicized, and that the
activities of civilian UFO study groups should be monitored. It was
concluded that there was no evidence that UFOs posed a specific security
threat to the US, but that the reporting of UFOs might trigger the mass
hysteria that was observed following the radio broadcast of "The War of
the Worlds". The panel felt that the mass media could be used to discredit
UFO sightings. It was also concluded that there was no evidence that UFOs
were actually advanced vehicles piloted by beings from other planets.
The official study of UFOs by the US Air Force did continue through
Project Blue Book until the 1968 University of Colorado "Condon Committee
Report" advised that Blue Book should be shutdown as there was nothing
further to be gained from the study of UFOs. But even though Project Blue
Book continued through the 1950s to the late 1960s, it was largely
ineffectual in conducting serious research into UFOs and its direction was
largely to abide by the policy framework established through the Robertson
The more serious and contentious question is whether some persons
connected with the study of UFOs decided to continue studies in a
compartmentalized and secret organization and program. Those who support
this view refer to documentation suggesting such a group, possibly called
MJ-12, has been operating in the US since the late 1940s or early 1950s. A
key contention is that the existence of this organization and its
activities are hidden behind walls of internal security from any and all
elected and publicly accountable officials such as presidents, cabinet
members, senators and members of congress. This secrecy is allegedly
maintained by threats and intimidation. While some information does leak
out, it is countered by the deliberate leakage of "disinformation" which
masks the truth behind many seemingly related but false or partially false
Some theorists believe that some of the information about these programs
is released in a controlled manner to eventually prepare the public for a
broader and more open disclosure of the real history of UFO studies.
What About Canada?
Did Canada have an active UFO study program in the mid-sixties? Did the
Canadian government ever formally establish a policy direction concerning
the potential national security implications posed by UFOs?
While there has certainly been many UFO encounters involving RCAF aircraft
and radar installations, there does not seem to exist a paper trail
showing the policy direction that guided reaction to these events. The
RCAF did perform some study of UFO incidents, but there is not any clear
indication of the policy objective that framed this study. It is quite
possible that the elected arm of the Canadian government, the PMO and
cabinet, have never prepared a policy directive concerning the study of
and response to UFO incidents. Perhaps there has never been sufficient
pressure to require a government policy response. Perhaps government
bureaucracy including National Defence has preferred to set their own
internal policy. The media has largely ignored reporting of UFO events
since the 1950s and the public is itself fragmented by differing belief
systems and focussed on more tangible and immediate priorities.
In Canada, the study of UFOs was offloaded to the National Research
Council in 1968, the year that the US disbanded the USAF "Project Blue
Book" study of UFOs. There were few scientists at NRC who harboured any
willingness to show interest in the objective study of a "frivolous topic"
like UFOs, except for the purposes of finding and locating fallen
meteorites. The timing of the offload of UFO study responsibility suggests
that Canada was simply following the US lead in its policy towards the
study of UFOs.
Since the mid 1950s, Canada has participated in NORAD which provides
security of Canadian and US air space from foreign incursions. The
response to any unidentified return that shows up on NORAD radar systems
would abide by the policies and regulations established by the joint US
and Canadian NORAD command structure. It is therefore quite likely that
our response to UFOs detected by the military would abide by NORAD
policies which are likely largely developed by US military strategists.
It is theoretically possible that the US has actually discouraged Canadian
government research into UFOs because they might be concerned that the
results of such studies might be released to the public or may be obtained
by competing foreign governments.
There Never Was a Project Magnet
It is difficult to catch Paul Kimball's line of reasoning on Hellyer.
Apparently he sees Hellyer's disclosure that as a defence minister, he
knew little or nothing about UFOs as proof positive that the Canadian
government has never had an interest in UFOs. He might be right that most
people in government were at most puzzled by what they heard. But there
were certainly some people in the Canadian military that had to be
concerned about what was reported by pilots and radar observers in various
military encounters with UFOs.
Kimball goes on to say "There was no super secret Wilbert Smith research
project" in his efforts to debunk the notion that the Canadian government
ever had any interest in studying UFOs. The project he is referring to is
"Project Magnet", a program run by Department of Transport scientist,
The project was concerned with the idea that the earth's magnetic field
might be the force used by the flying saucers for their propulsion. It
later led to a small UFO detection station at Shirley Bay near Ottawa,
Ontario. Project Magnet was funded by government from 1950 to 1954 and the
UFO detection station was publicly funded from 1952 to 1954. Although the
project was supposedly secret, the UFO detection station was written about
in several newspaper articles. It appears that publicity surrounding the
station possibly contributed to the government's decision in 1954 to
discontinue funding for the project.
Flying Saucer Detection Station at Shirley
Bay near Ottawa
This photograph was
published in the Toronto Globe and Mail, on the same day as a USAF F-89
disappeared after merging with a UFO on radar in Canadian air space over
Paul Kimball goes on to
state "There was no secret plan to get an alien spacecraft to land in
Alberta". I guess the point here is to disprove any notion that the
Canadian military had any interest in the UFO phenomena. Here Kimball must
be referring to the article printed in the Ottawa Journal in July 1967,
"UFO Landing Site was 13 Year Secret". The article states "The Canadian
Government 13 years ago made available the defence research board
experimental station at Suffield, Alberta as a landing site for
Unidentified Flying Objects, defence minister Paul Hellyer has now
disclosed." The article goes on to state:
"Nothing ever materialized from that top secret project. No
extraterrestrial flying objects ever sought to land on that 1000 square
mile restricted tract of land over which no aircraft, civilian or
military, was allowed to fly without special permission. The idea behind
the classified project was that if any UFO tried to make contact with
earth it could land at the DRB station without being shot down by defence
Forces Base is located northwest of Medicine Hat, Alberta. For decades
it was Canada's primary research centre into chemical and biological
weapons. It is also alleged to have been designated as a top secret
reserved "UFO landing site" back in the early 1950s.
Yurko Bondarchuk refers to
the alleged site in his 1979 book "UFO Sightings, Landings and Abductions
– The Documentary Evidence". He revealed that Captain Douglas Caie, Public
Information Officer from National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa stated
regarding the alleged UFO landing site at Suffield "We have no record of
any such program… From the information I have, we never had one."
According to the 1973 book "Aliens from Space" by Donald Keyhoe, US Air
Force intelligence learned of the restricted landing site at Suffield in
1954. According to Keyhoe, the site was established when efforts by the
RCAF to "bring down" a UFO failed. The intent was to lure the aliens into
landing but there was apparently nothing to indicate the area was reserved
for alien machines.
In the 1950s through to the 1970s, the experimental station at Suffield
was Canada's main centre for research into chemical and biological WMDs
(weapons of mass destruction). This included the testing of mustard gas
and sarin on soldiers and other human test subjects. Suffield was also the
primary Canadian test site for biological weapons such as anthrax, plague,
ricin and botulinum toxin. It is also alleged that the RCAF has engaged in
many pursuits of UFOs with its fighter jets since the 1950s. It is perhaps
little wonder that the UFOs would not choose to land at a site controlled
by Canadian National Defence which is devoted to chemical and biological
What was the source for this story? Why would the government designate a
military base as a "safe landing site" for UFOs?
AFFA and PONNAR Orbit Earth and Make Contact
What I have found quite interesting about this, aside from Kimball's
denials, is the whole history of Smith as it relates to Canada's UFO
studies of that period. While investigating this whole episode of the
alleged UFO landing site at Suffield, I was quite surprised to find out
that there might be a connection between this "bit of Canadian UFO
fantasy" and our favourite UFO/ET proponent, Wilbert Smith. This story
goes back to a UFO researcher named Grant Cameron. Through his interest of
the alleged alien landing site at Suffield, he engaged Hellyer in a long
period of correspondence with the purpose of locating certain information
about the site. Grant Cameron wrote Hellyer several times in the 1970s,
trying to determine the identity of the top defence department official
who had revealed the existence of the secret Suffield "UFO landing site".
Hellyer was never able to recall the name of the official, but told
Cameron that he had searched his files at National Archives but was unable
to locate his UFO file, which apparently contained notes from defence
briefings on UFOs.
The story does not stop there however. Cameron states that in 1978 he
interviewed Wilbert Smith's widow and asked her if she remembered anything
about the Suffield UFO landing site. In her version of the story, her
husband had been making efforts to convince government officials that the
aliens existed and that they should make efforts to talk to them face to
face, to learn who they were and what they wanted.
Canadian radio scientist and
prominent "UFO Contactee" ran Project Magnet and UFO Detection Station
for the federal government.
Here the story begins to get very weird.
In August 1954, the technology publication "Aviation Week and Space
Technology" reported that Dr. Lincoln LaPaz was conducting a study of two
"satellites" which had been recently discovered orbiting the earth at 400
miles and 600 miles above the surface. According to the article, the
satellites had caused worries in the Pentagon as they were initially
believed to be artificial. This was three years before the Soviet Union
launched "Sputnik" the first human manufactured artificial satellite into
orbit. The story was subsequently covered by several newspapers.
Some people believed that the two mystery satellites were alien
spaceships. One of these people was a Mrs. Frances Swan, who lived in
Eliot, Maine. She claimed that beginning in April 1954 she began receiving
channelled messages from the commanders of two alien ships orbiting the
earth, AFFA who commanded ship M-4 and PONNAR who commanded ship L-11. For
some reason or another, AFFA was the main alien contact for Swan and other
contactees. Wilbert Smith, who was a strong believer in aliens, maintained
contact with Swan and other "AFFA" contactees. He also allegedly tried
alternative methods for establishing contact with AFFA on his own or
through various intermediaries.
Back to the story of the Suffield UFO landing site…
Mrs. Smith told Grant Cameron that Wilbert believed that if the government
stopped shooting at UFOs, then he might be able to get spaceship commander
AFFA to land for a meeting. Apparently AFFA had given this indication in a
contact to Swan. Smith indicates that he approached a top secret committee
in government to relay this request and they had agreed to allow AFFA a
safe place to land. When Smith relayed this agreement back to AFFA, he was
told that AFFA would also require assurances that he would also be free to
take off without any interference. According to Cameron, Mrs. Smith told
him that the top secret committee would not agree to this, and so the
landing never took place.
As weird as this story is, it is at least partially true. We know that
Wilbert Smith was "a UFO contactee" and a "true believer" that some of the
UFOs were spaceships flown by aliens. Mr. Smith really did receive
government funding for his "Project Magnet" and the "UFO Detection
Station" at Shirley's Bay. We know that Paul Hellyer did apparently reveal
that Suffield Research Station had been designated as a top secret UFO
landing site sometime back in the mid-1950s. His statement revealing this
site was apparently made when he attended the official opening of the "UFO
Landing Pad" in St. Paul, Alberta, which was a community project for
From Mrs. Smith's telling, the aliens never landed because the Canadian
government wouldn't consent to granting the commander permission to freely
leave. What Hellyer was told and what was in his notes seems forgotten and
lost with his vanished UFO file. The Suffield story seems to at least be
partially true and it would be fascinating to know the complete real story
From what we know sitting in our stuffy armchairs reading these stories
and perhaps getting a good chuckle or two, is that AFFA and PONNAR appear
to have left earth orbit, probably not impressed with the diplomacy
extended by the Canadian government of that time.
Present Media Climate Discourages Interest in UFO Study
It is difficult to assess what impact Hellyer's comments have had on the
Canadian public. I have had a few people mention to me that they had heard
something about this, but they seemed largely unaware of any details
concerning Hellyer's comments.
The National Post published a column by regular political columnist Andrew
Coyne. In his piece, "Holding Editors to Account", Coyne seems amazed by
Hellyer's belief in a decades long government conspiracy to withhold
secrets about UFOs from the public, and thinks this might mean that
Hellyer has lost his marbles. He links Hellyer's "conspiracy views" with
those of someone who believes the US government created the Islamist
terrorist network that they are now fighting. Coyne proclaims his belief
in factual reporting but calls on newspaper editors to be more selective
and "exclude the obviously marginal". "There is a time and a place to
debate whether the earth goes around the sun or the contrary, but we
should have little time to address other matters if we were perpetually
revisiting old controversies, or disproving every fantasy." I guess this
explains why large media outlets almost never report any UFO unless it can
be easily explained as a meteor.
It is a very rare event for any large media outlet to present any news
relating to UFOs and alien visitation with a straight face. Discovery
Channel did recently produce a satisfactory summary of the Exopolitics
conference in Toronto but they prefaced it with a goofy cartoon UFO
landing. Perhaps this was done to assure the audience that they were not
intending anyone to take this in any way seriously.
The same thing happens on CBC Radio anytime they have Chris Rutkowski
providing reports from his annual survey of Canadian UFO events. It is
always prefaced with yuk- yuk UFO alien jokes. I once heard an interview
on "As it Happens" with an Indiana police officer who was witness to a
huge triangular UFO that was seen by several officers in adjacent
counties. The interviewer could hardly contain her smirking attitude while
the officer tried his best to provide cool responses to her demeaning line
of questioning. After the interview was concluded she was almost rolling
on the floor in giggles as she said, "Pardon me, but I really have to
wonder what it is that they put in the water down there!"
It is hard to believe that such consistent disrespect can be dished out so
casually by mass media outlets when it so clearly shows contempt for the
views and beliefs of large parts of their reading, listening and viewing
audience. The best that audience members can do when this bias and
derogatory demeanour is displayed in the media is to complain to these
As long as the present climate of ridicule persists in the large media
organizations, this climate will discourage any serious researcher from
publishing material on UFOs and will discourage agencies from funding this
Hellyer Believes in Public Role in Government Response to Alien Contact
Hellyer has stated his belief that elected governments have been largely
excluded from information which is held within the bureaucracy about UFOs.
He has in fact used his own experience to buttress this argument.
UFOlogy has not made great strides in finding conclusive, unambiguous
evidence for the ETH (Extra-terrestrial hypothesis) or any other theory on
the origin for unexplained UFOs. Despite this failure, many UFOlogists
have evaluated the evidence and concluded for themselves that the ETH is
the most likely explanation for the phenomena. Given the potentially
serious implications of this hypothesis, it makes sense to seriously
investigate the potential implications of this hypothesis and to seek
answers to the following questions:
Who are the visitors?
What do they want from us?
How are our governments reacting to this presence?
Are government agencies hiding information about UFOs from the public?
Paul Hellyer is the perhaps the first former senior Canadian government
minister to suggest that these questions are important policy questions
and that the public has a right to be involved in the development of
policy regarding the response of government to possible extra-terrestrial
It is the duty of UFOlogists to seek truth and clarity in the reporting of
UFO incidents. It is also our duty as citizens to seek the answers to the
key questions posed in Exopolitics forums if we are at all open to the
possibility that some UFOs may indeed be advanced vehicles fabricated and
possibly piloted by beings from extraterrestrial civilizations.
And while many of the stories circulating in the UFO field are arguably in
the category "too good to be true" you never know, you really, really