- OTTAWA -- Paul Hellyer, one-time
cabinet minister and a political chameleon who went through Liberal and
Tory colors before founding two political parties of his own, has a new
cause - UFOs.
- Hellyer is to be a featured speaker at a UFO conference
in Toronto this month and organizers are making much of his credentials
as a former defense minister in the Pearson administration 40 years ago.
- Skeptics are, well, skeptical.
- Hellyer, 82, says he believes not only that UFOs are
extraterrestrial visitors, but that some governments - the United States
at least - know all about it and are covering up.
- He says he believes American scientists have re-engineered
alien wreckage from a UFO crash at Roswell, N.M. in 1947 to produce technical
- "I believe that UFOs are real," he said in
a recent interview. "I'll talk about that a little bit and a bit about
the fantastic cover-up of the United States government and also a little
bit of the fallout from the wreckage, by that I mean the material discoveries
we have made and how they've been applied to our technology."
- Hellyer, once a political star, won his first parliamentary
election in 1949 at 25, then the youngest person ever to win a seat.
- He went on to become a cabinet minister, ran for the
Liberal leadership against Pierre Trudeau, switched parties to the Conservatives
and ran for that party's leadership, too. He eventually founded two other
political parties, Action Canada in 1971 and the Canadian Action party
- He says his conviction that UFOs are real arose from
reading in recent years, not from anything gleaned from secret archives
during his time in office.
- "I've been a skeptic for quite a while but I've
been exposed to more and more information recently and have just decided
to take a stand," he said.
- Organizers of the MUFON conference - an acronym for the
Mutual UFO Network - see Hellyer's participation as giving legitimacy to
- The conference is billed as "Canada's first major
UFO symposium calling for complete government disclosure concerning the
reality of UFOs and the extraterrestrial presence on Earth."
- "Mr. Hellyer's involvement will increase the impact
of the symposium," says a conference news release.
- Victor Viggiani, a retired educator who is an organizer
of the event, calls Hellyer a featured speaker.
- "We're depending on him to be a real focal point,"
Viggiani said. "We're using his sort of experiences to demonstrate
that national political figures can come out and talk about this."
- He says Hellyer has a simple point to make: "Let's
start telling the truth about what we all know is really happening in the
skies and journalists start paying attention, that's basically going to
be his message."
- Does Hellyer feel he's being used?
- "I think they are trying to make the most of my
- His participation is exasperating for David Gower, a
spokesman for Skeptics Canada, a group dedicated to debunking paranormal
- "This sort of thing is a big feather in their cap,
to come across people like him," says Gower, who is dismissive of
the whole UFO mystique.
- "There's no convincing evidence that can be anything
other than personal anecdotes or allegations that can't be proven,"
- He adds UFO enthusiasts have a quasi-religious fervor
that often makes them impervious to doubt.
- "There is a deep-seated need, a desire in people,
to feel that there's something in control somewhere, bigger than they are,
something that can give some kinds of answers."
- But Viggiani believes UFOs could be a boon for mankind.
He says they have technology that could solve the world's energy problems
"in one fell swoop."
- This is where the conspiracy theory takes off for him.
- "For some strange reasons, our governments can't
come forward to talk to us about what these energy sources are," he
says. "Because oil is just about $70 a barrel and that would undercut
a lot of the power structure, the World Bank ... the fossil fuel industry."
- Hellyer, too, thinks there are important secrets to be
- "I think, frankly, that the subject should be taken
seriously, because there are consequences that could have real effects
on the people of the world...."
- Unlike some believers, Hellyer does not think governments
have negotiated with aliens, but he is convinced there have been visitations.
- Although his participation in the conference is likely
to draw ridicule, Hellyer said he's used to that after his roller-coaster
- "It wouldn't be the first time, would it?"