'I believe in UFOs... and I've seen them'
Mr Hellyer claims to have seen a UFO with his wife when spending last Thanksgiving near Toronto, and they stared at the sky for 20 minutes watching it moving.He told AOL: '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. It looked like a star, but it manoeuvred in a way that stars don't.'
He believes the U.S. has developed new forms of energy at secret 'black operation' units using alien technology and that a 'shadow government' is behind this activity.
Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences research group, has described Mr Hellyer's theory as an 'important contribution' to literature.
'His experience in government, his interest in exo-politics and the issues of sustainability of civilization are significant areas of current discourse,' he said.
Retired Army Colonel John Alexander, also speaking at this week's conference, believes UFOs are real but says there has never been a cover-up.
Mr Hellyer added: 'People keep talking about transparency and still not telling the truth, and this applies in various other areas as well as UFOs.
'It's just about time that we started getting open with each other and trying to get along and live together.'
He said he would 'probably be open-mouthed about it' and 'might get fired for it' if he talked about his opinions in office today.
He said in 2005 that the U.S. military was preparing weapons to use against aliens, and they 'could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning'.
He said two years later that governments should be using alternatives to fossil fuels from alien technology obtained during alleged UFO crashes to fight climate change.
Mr Hellyer was responsible in 1963 for creating the Canadian Armed Forces from the integration of the Royal Canadian army, navy and air force into one organisation.
He has also campaigned over issues such as monetary reform, the Middle East and the environment.
Mr Hellyer's website says that he is the 'first person of cabinet rank in the G8 group of countries to state unequivocally "UFO's are as real as the airplanes flying overhead".'
Other public figures who have stated UFOs are of extra-terrestrial origin include former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Professor Stephen Hawking and Ronald Reagan.
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