When ufologists talk about the history of the UFO phenomenon in Canada, they usually focus on Wilbert Smith (I'll have more to say on him in the days to come). In doing so, they miss or underplay the real story. Here is an exchange from a session of the House of Commons Question Period from 1955, as recorded in the Canadian House of Commons Debates, Official Report (Vol. II, 1955).
The man asking the questions is the Hon. John Diefenbaker (below), who would, two years later, become Prime Minister of Canada (his tenure, from 1957 to 1963, was one of the most controversial in Canadian history, much of the controversy stemming from Diefenbaker's relationship with the United States - for more on "The Chief" see: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/John-George-Diefenbaker).
"Topic: Defence Production
Mr: Diefenbaker [Note: The Progressive Conservative M.P., Prince Albert]
1. Has the Department of Defence Production attempted to have a flying saucer built?
2. If so, has the attempt been abandoned?
3. What has been the total expenditure incurred to date?
Mr. Dickey [Note: Hon. J. H. Dickey, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Defence Production]
1. In 1954 the A. V. Roe Company was given a contract to investigate the possibilities of a vertical take-off aircraft. No authorization was given for construction of a prototype.
2. Canadian government support for the project has been withdrawn.
3. $396,740.09 - Subject to final audit by cost inspection and audit division, comptroller of the treasury."
Almost $400,000, at a time when $400,000 was a LOT of money! Compare that to Wilbert Smith's part-time, penny-ante Project Magnet, or his "UFO detection" station at Shirley's Bay, and ask yourself where the real "flying saucer" research was being done in Canada, by whom, and to what end (hint: it wasn't to see if aliens were coming here; it was to develop advanced weapons systems).
So, what happened to the research (known as Project Y2, classified Secret)?
We turned it over to the Americans (to be precise, the Air Force). For more information, see Redfern, Nick and Andy Roberts, Strange Secrets: Real Government Files on the Unknown (New York: Paraview Pocket Books, 2003), pp. 86 - 98, or Nick's most recent article in Phenomena at:
Incidentally, this was not the last time that John Diefenbaker and A. V. Roe were linked. It was his administration that pulled the plug on the AVRO Arrow fighter jet project, a plane that was superior to anything the United States or the USSR had at the time. They destroyed the prototypes, and many of the Canadian scientists and researchers who worked on the project wound up working in the United States, including NASA.