There has been an interesting development in the Canadian election today, involving an important former Canadian politician, that should be of interest to ufologists.
Puh-lease. I said an "important" former Canadian politician, as in someone who didn't throw his career away, and who still enjoys the respect of Canadians, regardless of political affiliation.
It will be announced later today that Edward Schreyer, former Member of Parliament (first elected at 30), former Premier of Manitoba (1969 - 1977), former Governor General of Canada (1979 - 1984, and the third youngest to serve in that post), and former High Commissioner to Australia, will be returning to active politics, at the age of 70, to run for the New Democratic Party in the riding of Selkirk - Interlake, in Manitoba. Since his political career in government ended in 1988, Schreyer has worked as a national representative for Habitat for Humanity, and served as an honorary director for the Sierra Legal Defence Fund.
He is, in every sense of the term, a "star" candidate for the NDP, and stands a good chance of being elected to the House of Commons, 36 years after he resigned to become Premier of Manitoba. If he succeeds, it will be the first time a former Governor General has returned to elected politics.
All very interesting, ufologists might say, but what does it have to do with us?
Well, unlike Paul Hellyer, Schreyer actually cared about the UFO phenomenon during his time in the House of Commons all those years ago. Indeed, he was one of several MPs in the late 1960s, most of whom were New Democrats, to press the government for information about the official investigation of UFO sightings.
Schreyer first delved into the UFO question on 28 June, 1967, when he stood up in the House of Commons and asked the following question:
"Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Transport; perhaps he would like to take it as notice. Has he received any formal report containing the rather strange information that approximately 20 sightings have been made in a period of six weeks or less of unidentified flying objects in a relatively limited area of eastern Manitoba, including sightings by RCMP constables? Can the minister say whether the special investigation branch of the United States air force been invited to come to Canada to make an investigation?"
The question was placed on the order paper.
Just over four months later, on November 6th, 1967, Schreyer rose in the House of Commons and asked the folowing questions:
"1. Were any formal investigations conducted by the Department of National Defence or any other agency of the government relative to the reported sightings of unidentified flying objects in eastern Manitoba, which reports originated during the months of May and June, 1967?
2. If so, were any such investigations conducted with the joint co-operation of the United States Air Force or any other U.S. government agency or academic institution?
3. Is the Department of National Defence or any other agency of the federal government now in possession of a report on such investigations?
4. If so, will the report be made public?
5. Has a government committee been established to review this subject matter?"
Leo Cadieux, the Minister of National Defence (he had taken over from Hellyer in September), answered as follows:
"1. Yes, the Department of National Defence, together with the Department of National Health and Welfare, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, conducted an investigation into the alleged sighting of an unidentified flying object by Mr. Stephen Michalak at Falcon Lake, Manitoba.
2. No. However, representatives from the Universities of Colorado and Arizona conducted an informal independent investigation [PK note: one can only presume, or hope, that Cadieux did not realize that the University of Colorado study was being conducted at the behest of the United States Air Force, and therefore hardly qualified as an "informal independent investigation"].
4. It is not the intent of the Department of National Defence to make public the report of the alleged sighting.
Two days later, Schreyer, showing more interest in the subject than Hellyer (who was the Minister of National Defence at the time of the incident and the investigation) claims to have shown (at least until he read The Day After Roswell decades later) followed up with further questions:
"1. Is the Department of National Defence or any of its defence forces offices in possession of photographs of certain airborne objects, which photographs were reportedly given over to Canadian defence department officials by one Warren Smith of Calgary, Alberta?
2. Were these photographs or copies thereof made available to any of the Canadian newspapers or news magazines?
3. Were any requests made by any Canadian newspapers or news magazines for access to these photographs?
4. In all cases where Canadian defence department officials have interviewed persons reporting the sighting of unidentified flying objects, have departmental officials requested such persons to not communicate with newspaper reporters, etc., and, if so, for what reason?"
Cadieux replied as follows:
"1. Yes, the department is in possession of duplicate 35 mm. slides and one set of prints.
2. Not by the Department of National Defence.
3. Yes. All were referred to Mr. Warren Smith.
4. All persons who communicate information to the Department of National Defence on alleged unidentified flying objects do so on their own volition and are in no way requested to suppress the release of information to any other person or persons."
On Wednesday, 24 January, 1968, Schreyer followed up on his original questions (and others posed in the interim by fellow New Democrat MP Barry Mather):
"1. With reference to the reported sightings of unidentified flying objects in eastern manitoba during the months of May and June 1967, how many such reports were received by various departments of the government of Canada and by the Department of National Defence in particular?
2. How many of these reported or alleged sightings were investigated?
3. Will the reports and findings of these investigations be made public?
4. What are the reasons for not making public any such reports now in the possession of the Department of National Defence?"
Judy LaMarsh, the Secretary of State, answered as follows:
"I am informed by the departments of National Defence and Solicitor General as follows:
1. Four by the Department of National Defence. One by the Department of the Solicitor General.
2. Two; the other reports did not contain sufficient information and detail to warrant further investigation.
3 and 4. The actual reports received by the Department of National Defence have not been made public as some observers did not wish their names made public; and, in attempting to analyse reports, investigators have commented on the likely accuracy of observations. The description of sightings and the results of investigations are not classified information, however, and persons who send reports to the department do so on their own volition and are not asked to suppress the release of information to any other person or persons [PK note: the exact same language as Cadieux had used a couple of months earlier? Were they reading from some kind of prepared script?]. The report in 2 above refers to a sighting on 20 May 1967 by a person in the Falcon Lake area which was widely publicized in the press. The Department of National Defence investigation, which has now been completed, could not explain the sighting.
As a result of recent discussions between the Department of National Defence and the National Research Council, reports on sightings received through Canadian armed forces channels will be passed in future to the National Research Council to determine whether there are scientific reasons for further investigation."
This was the last question asked by Schreyer on the subject of UFOs, but other MPs, most notably Mather, continued to pressure the government on the UFO subject, until the Michalak file was finally tabled for the House on 6 February, 1969.
And that was it, largely due to the effect of the Condon Report. Shortly thereafter, Schreyer returned to provincial politics to take over the leadership of the New Democratic Party in Manitoba, and quickly led them to their first electoral victory there.
Now, whereas Hellyer is considered to be a flake by anyone who matters in Canadian politics these days, if they even think of him at all (and running around with the exopolitics crowd hasn't helped what is left of his reputation), Schreyer is still a credible, indeed, a formidable, political force. He was also once clearly interested in the UFO phenomenon - without having had to read The Day After Roswell.
So, ufologists - forget about Hellyer (please, please, please forget about Hellyer), and look to Schreyer. You might even want to send him a copy of Dick Hall's The UFO Evidence. Who knows - Schreyer pushed for answers, decades ago (when Hellyer was silent). Perhaps he can be persuaded to push again, should he win re-election - particularly if approached sensibly, a la the The Sturrock Gambit.
If you're looking for someone who might actually make a difference, Edward Schreyer may be your man.
Just keep him away from Alfred Webre, Michael Salla, and the rest of the exopolitics crowd.