Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena – scientific research: The Canadian government’s interest in UAP between 2021 and 2024

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The purpose of this article is to provide background information about the Canadian government’s interest in, or lack of interest in the subject of UAP, between 2021 and 2024. 

 February 2021

 An 18 May 2022 article by CTV News, the news division of the CTV television network in Canada, reported that according to the office of Conservative MP Larry Maguire, both Maguire and another Conservative MP, had a 16 February 2021 briefing by Luis Elizondo.

Elizondo is quoted in that article as saying:

“Mr. Maguire is absolutely correct in his concern, because he knows that these reports do occur…I think the time has come for us to have an open and honest dialogue about this topic without fear of retribution, without stigma and associated taboo.”

Briefing requested for the Canadian Minister of Defence 

May 2021

In a 10 May 2022 article by journalist Tristin Hopper, it was reported that relevant UAP documents had been obtained for CTV News, via the Access to Information Act, the Canadian equivalent of the US Freedom of Information Act. One of these documents was an email, dated 19 May 2021, from George Young, Chief of Staff for the then Minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan, asking for the Minister to receive a briefing on UAP. In full, it read:

“Good afternoon,

I expect I am not alone in noting the recent increase in comment regarding Unidentified Flying Objects in the media internationally, particularly in the US. UFOs have been the focus of comment both in the Congress and in open media from former President Obama who has noted that he received briefings on UFOs. I also note in this article, for instance, that:

“A stipulation in the “committee comment” portion of the Intelligence Authorization Act for the 2021 fiscal year directed U.S. Intelligence agencies to hand over unclassified reports about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena to Congress by June of this year.”

It should/could be expected that the imminent US release of information will prompt questions domestically and with Defence-related implications, more than likely given the nexus with DoD in the US for the upcoming report. 

U.S. Intelligence agencies are expected to deliver a report on “unidentified aerial phenomena” to Congress next month, sparking renewed interest and speculation into how the government has handled sightings of mysterious flying objects – and if there’s any worldly explanation for them. The unclassified report, compiled by the director of national intelligence and the secretary of defense, aims to make public what the Pentagon knows about unidentified flying objects, and data analyzed from, such encounters. 

Anticipating this, I believe is is prudent to request a full briefing for Minister Sajjan from the Canadian perspective on this issue. That is to say, a report on any and all research that has been done by CAF/DND; any sightings that have been reported in recent years; any historical information that may be on file; interfaces with other governments on the issue, and any other related information that might be pertinent. In other words, use the broadest possible lens to inform us of any Canadian angle to the issue. We will need this done in a very timely fashion please, given the timeframe noted for the US release of the report.”

A second email dated 20 May 2021, from Lt. Col Kris M Reeves, Senior Military Advisor to the Deputy Minister of National Defence tasked out the preparation of briefing material.

The briefing material was prepared, and a briefing was undertaken in June 2021, exact date unknown. The FOI material obtained, included five briefing slides, as follows:

October 2021

The 18 May 2022 article cited above, also noted that there had been two other briefings, this time by a U.S. based organization.  

1. A 20 October 2021 briefing for a Liberal member of Parliament, by members of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies. These members included Robert Powell, as well as Chris Mellon.

2. 28 January 2022. Presenters not stated.

Conservative MP Larry Maguire


A recent, 13 May 2022,  Op-ed piece was written by MP Larry Maguire, titled “UAPs are real, and Canada should take them seriously.” The piece included the following:

“…it is time to demand action from our government departments. Moreover, it’s time for them to engage with the scientific community in an open and transparent manner…Last year I met with Elizondo to learn more about UAP and to better understand the issue. While I did not get access to classified information, it was a good opportunity to ask some in-depth questions…Knowing all this, the two most logical questions we should be asking in Canada are: What information does the government of Canada possess, and what are they doing with it?” and:

“There is documented evidence outlining where DND reports their own internal UAP information, including to NORAD through the 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba, or the 21 Aerospace Control and  Warning Squadron in North Bay, Ontario. This has never been brought to the attention of either Parliament or the Standing Committee on National Defence”

 The 18 May 2022 article added:

“Ontario NDP MP Matthew Green agrees, saying Canada has nothing to lose by investigating UAP. Green is quoted as saying:

“If the testimony coming out of the States provides the public with a glimpse into the seriousness in which they’re taking it, then I think it would be well-advised for us to follow in the same pursuit…If they’re having public hearings of this nature, I can only begin to imagine what they already privately know.”

Chris Rutkowski

Twitter user Steve T.E. advised me that there was an earlier, 6 May 2022 version of the CTV report.  Canadian science writer and University of Manitoba communications professional Chris Rutkowski, is cited in this earlier article as providing “…material for the Minister’s briefing as a ‘civilian advisor’ and that he last received official UFO data in early 2021.”

A communication directly from Chris Rutkowski, to me, stated “One other thing: Maguire doesn’t note that he was also briefed by a Canadian UAP researcher. The same one who was noted in the Sajjan briefing.” This was, in fact, Rutkowski himself. Rutkowski also provided a link to a 21 May 2022 article on the Winnepegfreepress.com website titled “Disdain, Confusion around official’s handling of UFO reports,” reviewed by Rutkowski. It discusses the work of Canadian historian Matthew Hayes, who wrote a thesis on the topic. This work is now available as a book, published 15 May 2022, titled “Search for the Unknown: Canada’s UFO Files and the Rise of Conspiracy Theory.” 

Rutkowski also pointed out that he had been receiving, and publishing, government reports for decades, and that the briefing to the CDN defence minister made reference to him personally, with the unredacted version of the briefing slides even included a photograph of him.

Canadian Air Force intercept of unknowns 

In a 3 November 2022 Canadian TV news item, there was information given about Canadian Air Force jets launched to intercept unknowns. 

February 2022

In a 16 November Canadian TV news item, it was revealed that on 22 February 2022, “Members of the Pentagon’s UFO task force briefed Canadian military officials.”

The briefing was led by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s National Intelligence Manager for Aviation; and was attended by ten Canadian defense officials, “…including personnel from the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Forces Intelligence Command.”

March 2022

On 2 March 2022, National Resources Canada (NRC) appeared before a meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Resources on the Supplementary Estimates. MP Larry Maguire asked a question on incident reporting of drone and UAP, in or near Canadian nuclear facilities.

NRC responded on 14 March 2022 to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. This response was signed off by the Director General, Directorate of Security and Safeguards. The response was that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC,) Canada’s independent nuclear regulator, had advised “…there has been no reported drone intrusion or attempted intrusion at Canadian high-security nuclear facilities.”

Further correspondence

Two letters dated 6 June 2022 are relevant to this matter. These are:

1. John Hannaford, Deputy Minister of Natural resources Canada, wrote to MP Maguire.

“I am writing in follow-up to my May 18, 2022, appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources, where you raised security-related questions regarding the Government of Canada’s position on drones and Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) near North American nuclear facilities.

This is an important matter that my colleagues and I in the Natural Resources portfolio take very seriously. I would like to share with you some specific steps we have taken recently.

Beyond regular collaboration, in recent weeks the Department has liaised with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Transport Canada and Public Safety Canada on this issue. Natural Resources Canada and the CNSC are working to support Transport Canada in developing a strategy to address emerging drone security issues.

To date, there have been no reported or attempted drone incursions at Canadian high-security nuclear facilities. However, a request was made to fly a drone over a nuclear facility in early 2021, which the CSNC declined. 

Given the shared priority for nuclear safety and safety of nuclear facilities, and the growing interest in UAPs in both Canada and the United States, the CSNC is committed to raising the issue with its United States counterpart and sharing any related information going forward.

We have reached out to counterparts in the United States Department of Energy regarding the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Preliminary Report on UAPs to learn more about its perspective in order to help inform analysis and action in Canada.

Finally, Natural Resources Canada has a long-established Energy and Utilities Sector Network that shares threat information between the Government of Canada and energy sector critical infrastructure operators. We will continue to use this to gather intelligence on emerging threats, including drones and UAPs.

Kathleen Heppell-Masys, Director General of the CSNC, will respond in a follow-up letter to the six specific questions you asked during my May appearance.

Thank you for your interest in this important safety and security issue.”

2. Dr Kathleen Heppell-Masys, Director General, Directorate of Security and Safeguards, Canada Nuclear Safety Commission to Larry Maguire.

https://www.ourcommons.ca/content/Committee/441/RNNR/WebDoc/WD11637088/11637088/LetterDeputyMinisterJohnF.G.Hannaford-e.pdf

“It was a pleasure to meet with you on May 17th, 2022. The information you provided in your March 4th letter helped us further understand the context and nature of your interests, concerns, and questions regarding drones and unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) and I understand you raised a number of related issues the following day during a meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources (RNNR.)

Before I turn to addressing your questions, I would like to clarify that the CNSC is Canada’s independent nuclear regulator. The CSNC is a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal that reports in Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources, and not to the Minister. As such, we will be able to to address your concerns and questions more expeditiously in the future if you contact us directly. As an open and transparent regulator, we welcome the opportunity to work with Parliamentarians to ensure their information needs are met.

As we discussed on May 17th, the CSNC’s nuclear security requirements, including reporting requirements, encompass any nuclear security threats that involve an attempted or actual breach of security, or an attempted or actual act of sabotage, including credible threats made against a nuclear power plant. This would include events involving drones and unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP.) The Nuclear Safety and Control Act, Nuclear Security Regulations, associated regulatory documents and license conditions outline strong requirements on the part of licensees to ensure readiness to mitigate, deter, and respond to credible threats to regulated facilities.

The CNSC is taking steps to enquire with our licensees about any reported drones or UAP sightings and to confirm that nuclear safety was not put at risk from any related sightings. That includes a letter that I have sent to licensees for high-security nuclear sites.

We have also approached our Unites States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC) colleagues regarding the nature of their nuclear security requirements for drones and UAPs and potentially evolving requirements. We will discuss their approach further as it evolves. For now, existing nuclear security requirements in both countries are well-aligned.

You had three particular questions for follow-up after our May 17th meeting:

1. Understanding the spectrum of CNSC- regulated facilities; 

2. The length of time Canadian nuclear facilities retains security-related data, including video footage, and:

3. Confirming with CNSC licensees that no incidents with drones or UAPs have occurred at nuclear facilities since the March 2nd RNNR meeting.

On the first question. Canada has one of the most diverse nuclear sectors in the world. Regulated facilities include uranium mining, milling and refining; nuclear substances processing and end users; fuel production; nuclear power and nuclear research reactors, and waste management.

On the second question, High Security Site Licensees are required to retain all relevant security related records regarding security events for the duration of their operating licence. Unless there is an identified incident, data that are not related to specific events may be disposed of by these licensees as per their specific security program and management system program.

On the third question, the CNSC is not aware of any reported incidents of drones or UAPs near Canadian nuclear facilities. With a regulatory lens regarding nuclear security, we have taken steps to confirm with licencees that no such events have occurred.

You raised six related questions to Mr Hannaford, Deputy Minister of NRCan, at the May 18th meeting of RNNR. I would like to provide a response to five of the six questions. On the sixth question which pertains to the CNSC’s receipt of your March 4th letter, I can confirm we have received your letter and have since discussed these issues with NRCan.

1. A lack of standardized reporting requirements for licensees to report on UAP or drones and no formal investigative guidelines to understand origin and/or intent; and

2. Your request to direct nuclear facility licensees to ask employees and security  officials to ensure all drone and UAP incidents are properly reported.

As discussed on May 17th, our regulatory framework is largely performance-based and not prescriptive in how licensees are to meet safety and security objectives and requirements. Licensees are required to report on credible threats. As mentioned above, I have sent a letter to licensees of high-security nuclear sites asking for relevant information. I will be pleased to update you with any related information received that I am able to share.

Licensees are required to prepare for and respond to any credible threats against their sites or facilities. In the case of nuclear security events, an investigation would typically be led by the police service of jurisdiction and would be supported by the CNSC.

3. Whether NRCan would support the Chief Scientist Advisor (CSA,) were the Government to direct that she lead a whole-of-government approach to standardize the collection of reports and analysis for unidentified drones and UAPs.

While this question was directed to NRCan, the CSNC as a technical and scientific organization would offer its full support to the CSA were she directed by government to undertake such an effort.

4. The willingness of the CNSC to begin a conversation with the US NRC on unidentified drones and UAPs.

As noted above, I have reached out to the US NRC and have concluded that our respective nuclear security reporting requirements are aligned. As noted above, we will discuss their approach further as it evolves.

5. Awareness by CNSC officials of UAP sightings near Canadian nuclear facilities.

The CNSC has not received any reports of drones or UAP sightings near any nuclear facilities. Since our conversation, we have also confirmed that neither drones nor UAPs have caused breaches to nuclear security, or been involved in attempts or actual acts of sabotage  to the nuclear security of nuclear facilities.

I would be pleased to provide you with the results of our Request for Information to licensees as mentioned earlier. Please feel free to contact the CNSC directly in the future on nuclear regulatory matters, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.”

March 2023

An article in Canadian media reported that the Canadian government was launching an investigation into UAP. 

March 2023

On 13 May2023, a copy of a letter appeared on Twitter, on an account named “Cambria.” The letter was dated 22 March 2023, and was from Canadian politician Larry Maguire, addressed to the Canadian Minister of National Defence. The appearance of the letter at this time went largely unremarked upon. The same letter then resurfaced and was discussed in Episode #22 of the Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp podcast Weaponized. It gained massive exposure as a result of this podcast episode.

https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en/larry-maguire(7251)

Text of letter

The full text of the letter read:

“22 March 2023

RE; Defence Research and Development Canada in possession of recovered UAP material.

Dear Minister Anand,

It has come to my attention through meetings with American officials that the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Senate Committee on Armed Services have been undertaking in-camera hearings with government and military subject matter experts on the recovery and exploitation of physical material from Unidentified Aerial phenomena (UAP).

I am concerned that expected upcoming public announcements will be coordinated between AUKUS which could damage Canada’s credibility with our allies and the Canadian public on the global stage. There is an opportunity to have a prepared communications plan in place by May 2023 to reduce this risk.

As Minister of National Defence, you may not be aware, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) has participated in efforts to analyse UAP, which is publicly traceable to circa 1950. This recovered foreign material is studied through the Five Eyes Foreign Material Program (FMP) which, in Canada is sponsored by the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command linked with several intelligence sharing arrangements and treaties. I am writing to recommend you request a classified briefing, containing full sensitive and protected program information from your officials on the Government of Canada’s historic and ongoing efforts on analyzing recovered UAP material. 

Canada’s Chief Science Advisor has also launched the Sky Canada Project, which is investigating how the government of Canada manages UAP reports. They are in the process of identifying key Canadian stakeholder institutions. It is essential the Chief Science Advisor be given full access to defence programs and be briefed on the collaborative scientific research efforts with our allies.

It is imperative the Government of Canada have a communications plan to respond to these upcoming public revelations that will stem from these American FMPs. Not only are there national security and aviation safety concerns that need to be addressed, but there will also be a larger debate about why there is a lack of transparency and accountability regarding UAP programs and policy.

I also believe there must be Parliamentary oversight of efforts by government institutions, and responsible ministers should be fully briefed on this program, including releasable-to-the-public content that aligns with allied public disclosure. It is incumbent your department inform you of what collaborative efforts have occurred with our allies and the details of existing Agreements and Memorandum of Understanding that govern the program and may have been conducted through Global Affairs.

Canada’s credibility with our allies and the Canadian public must transcend politics and I firmly believe we can work together in a bipartisan manner regardless of the classified details of specific FMPs, the public revelation by these subject matter experts who have testified before Congress present an opportunity for the Government of Canada to take a visible leadership role in confirming the existence of recovered material and balances our national security objectives.

I look forward to your response and if you seek any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Sincerely,

Larry Maguire, MP

Brand-on Souris.

CC:

Hon. Melanie Joly, PC, MP.

Hon. Omar Alghabra, DC, MP.

Assistant Deputy Minister (Science & Technology.)

Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor.

Major General Michael Wright, Commander of Canadian Forces Intelligence Command.

Canadian Forces Intelligence Command, Office for Release & Disclosure.”

 The Canadian Government’s response

In a 25 June 2023 article CBC News wrote in part:

“A spokesperson with National Defence Minister Anand’s office said she is ‘kept fully appraised of relevant incidents through established reporting protocols,’ She received the letter and told Maguire in response that neither Defence Research and Development Canada nor the Canadian Forces Intelligence Committee are involved in any ‘formal analyis of UAP,’ according to a statement sent to CBC News on Monday. All efforts studying UAP at the federal level stopped in the 1960’s, the spokesperson said.’

Toronto journalist Daniel Otis undertook his own enquires and on Twitter, published the full text of the government’s reply:

“Minister Anand did receive Mr Maguire’s letter and has replied to him.

In her reply minister Anand confirmed that neither Defence Research Development Canada (DRDC) nor Canadian Forces Intelligence Command (CFINTCOM) are involved in any type of formal analysis of UAP. In fact all efforts to study UAP ceased in the 1960’s.

The Department of National Defence (DND) occasionally receives anecdotal reporting of unusual phenomenon, however, these are only investigated when cases are identified as potential threat incidents or events of distress. The Minister of National Defence is kept fully appraised of relevant incidents through established reporting protocols.

We will continue to work closely with our allies and domestic national authorities ensure the safety of Canadians. This collaboration includes providing updates requested by parliamentarians, for example, through Parliamentary committees. In addition, DND and the Canadian Armed Forces maintain lines of communication with NORAD and the United States Department of Defence, and routinely exchange information on a number of subjects as part of our long-standing cooperation.”

Comments by me:

1. Much was made of the existence of this letter when it finally hit the news in June 2023. Highlights brought forward in numerous outlets included:

* DRDC involved in analysis of UAP material since circa 1950; implying, but not explicitly stating, that this was on-going.

* Maguire was expecting public announcements from AUKUS.

* There is a previously unknown to us, Five Eyes Foreign Material Program.

2. The Canadian Government’s response was that neither DRDC nor CFINTCOM ‘are involved in any type of formal analysis of UAP.’ So, a denial of the two areas which Maguire thought were working on the issue. Note that this denial did not extend to the whole of the Canadian Government. There was no “No areas of the Canadian Government are currently, with the exception of the Chief Science Advisor, working on the subject of UAP”

3. The reference to “circa 1950” in Maguire’s letter is probably concerning Project Magnet, which was an official Canadian “flying saucer” study established by Wilbert Brockhouse Smith, who was a senior radio engineer in Transport Canada. The project was active until 1954 and ran informally until 1962. Project Magnet ran in cooperation with the Defence Research Board and the National Research Council.

4. What did Maguire mean when he stated: “expected upcoming public announcements will be coordinated between AUKUS…”? As at 29 June 2023 no such public announcements have been made. 

5. What are Foreign Material programs? Here’s a link to an excellent article on the FMP Exploitation Squadron of the USAF’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center, which explains FMPs. This article defines foreign material to be such things as weapons systems, parts of aircraft or indeed whole aircraft, drones etc. We kow for example, that NASIC was legislated to receive UAP reports, but the question really is, does the FMP include the recovery and exploitation of UAP? We just don’t know. Maguire states that there is a Five Eyes FMP, however, I have so far drawn a blank in trying to find out information about it.

5. Politician Larry Maguire is to be congratulated for raising the UAP subject with the Canadian government as a whole. However, is it possible that some of the information being fed to Maguire, is incorrect? In my opinion, a reference to something going on circa 1950 does not necessarily equate to an ongoing program.

May 2023 – Sky Canada’s website

Sky Canada now has its own website.

July 2023

Toronto journalist Daniel Otis tweeted details of the Canadian government’s response to two questions he posed to them. They were:

Q. Is any other part of the DND/CAF currently involved in formal analysis of UAP?

A. No.

Q. Did any past analysis or involvement pertain to recovered materials/objects, as Maguire alleges?

A. We can confirm that the Canadian Armed Forces/ Department of National Defence (as well as previous iterations) have never had any possession of any UAP materials. 

March 2024

The Canadian Chief Scientist provided an update on the Sky Canada Project. 

April 2024

The “Ottawa Citizen” carried an article by David Pugliese dated 16 April 2024, titled “Canada joins secret Pentagon meeting on UFOs. DND can’t figure out who attended.” 

It was previously acknowledged by the Canadian government that someone from the Royal Canadian Air Force had attended the May 2023 Five Eyes UAP briefing by the former Director of AARO, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick. However, the “Ottawa Citizen” article said that Canada had no plans to attend additional meetings of UAP, nor were Canadian Forces working with the science advisor to the Canadian government on the Sky Canada project. 

Who actually attended on behalf of Canada remains a mystery. “A Canadian Forces intelligence Command officer confirmed his organization had not attended” ‘We further confirmed with DRDC that they did not attend either…” DRDC stands for Defense Research and Deveopment Canada. 

May 2024

Canadian journalist Daniel Otis continues his pursuit of information on Canada’s relationship with the USA, on the subject of UAP.



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