Well, stepping up to the plate is the Honorable Paul Hellyer, a former deputy prime minister of Canada and the longest serving current member -- ahead of Prince Philip -- of the Queen's Privy Council, which is made up of "prominent Canadians appointed to advise the queen on issues of importance to the country."
As Canadian minister of national defense in 1963, Hellyer was responsible for integrating and unifying the Royal Canadian army, navy and air force into a single organization, the Canadian Armed Forces.
"Oh, I'm absolutely convinced of it. These things were not invented here. And I think people have to get accustomed to this new reality," Hellyer told AOL News.
"We lived too long in a sense of isolation, thinking that Earth was the center of the cosmos, that we were the only species and, therefore, probably the most advanced. And when we come to the realization that we're not any of those things, then I think we should be aware of it, learn to live with it and certainly try to take advantage of anything that we can learn from visitors from anywhere."
Hellyer, 87, is also known for his activities involving world issues, including monetary reform, the Middle East and environmental concerns.
This week, he's presenting his views on UFOs at the International UFO Congress in Scottsdale, Ariz.
When Hellyer was Canada's minister of national defense, he says he never discussed UFOs with other high-ranking officials.
"I got periodic reports on sightings and I looked at them very casually, and it was decided that about 80 percent of them were natural phenomena of one sort or another, and the other 20 percent roughly were unexplained, and therefore unidentified.
"You know, this is the kind of thing that sometimes they don't tell politicians about, and I have no doubt that there were probably people in my employ who would have been more knowledgeable than I was at the time."
"The two of us stood there transfixed for 20 minutes, looking up at this thing moving first in one direction, and then another. By process of elimination, we determined it wasn't a star or satellite and it wasn't the space station, so there was really no explanation for it other than it was, in fact, a UFO."
Hellyer's analytical mind raced as fast as the object he was looking at.
"It looked like a star, but it maneuvered in a way that stars don't. I must admit that when I saw this one, I wondered whether it was extraterrestrial or American. And I guess the thought that occurred to me was that if it is American, then they have learned some pretty big secrets about acceleration, because it accelerated at a pace that nothing I've ever known about that was built here is capable of."
Trusted political and scientific sources whom Hellyer has talked to have suggested that the United States has developed new forms of energy at top-secret "black operation" installations, using reportedly extraterrestrial technology.
In his book "Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Survival Plan for the Human Species" (AuthorHouse), Hellyer claims that an American "shadow government" is behind this activity.
"That is my belief. I do not have proof of that, but I believe that they have developed energy sources, and publicly I'm saying that if they do not exist in commercial form, that extraterrestrials would certainly give us that information if we would ask them for it and stop shooting at them."
"Paul Hellyer's story is an important contribution to the literature of modern Western civilization. His experience in government, his interest in exopolitics and the issues of sustainability of civilization are significant areas of current discourse," wrote Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
While Hellyer believes -- as many people do -- in an ongoing cover-up of UFO information, there are those of equal or higher credentials who say otherwise. Case in point: retired Army Col. John Alexander -- another speaker at this week's International UFO Congress -- who acknowledges the reality of UFOs but says there has never been a cover-up of the facts and that UFO disclosure has already taken place over many decades.
On the topic of disclosure of all facts relating to UFOs, Hellyer is pretty adamant.
"Basically, I'm a full-disclosure person. People keep talking about transparency and still not telling the truth, and this applies in various other areas as well as UFOs, and it's just about time that we started getting open with each other and trying to get along and live together."
If Hellyer was Canada's minister of defense today, would he be as up-front with his UFO beliefs?
"I would probably be open-mouthed about it and I might get fired for it," he replied. "I've always been pretty open and direct, so unless there was some reason which I can't conceive of, I wouldn't try to hide the existence of the extraterrestrials and their presence."
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