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The UFO Files: The Canadian Connection Exposed

by Palmiro Campagna

It’s difficult to assess a UFO book critically. The standards in this genre are not the usual ones for non-fiction, if only because the line between fact and fiction blurs considerably in UFO lore. Some UFO writers are thorough researchers; some are certifiably insane. Given the range, the only constant is in the publishing methodology: if the book comes out in a cheap paperback, has an embossed cover, and can be found at most truck stops on the Trans-Canada Highway, it’ll probably sell quite well.

The UFO Files violates most of these design rules – it’s an expensive hardcover found at bookstores. But it has one thing in its favour: its focus on the Canadian government’s role in research into – and possible cover-ups of – UFOs. With the exception of John Robert Colombo’s fine collection of Canadian sightings, UFO buffs in our country are quite badly served (which is odd when you consider we have the highest per-capita incidence of crop circles in the world).

Campagna, however, has uncovered an intriguing collection of documents about Canada’s dance around the UFO question. He details the history of the UFO-like device built by A.V. Roe Ltd., at the behest of both the Canadian and U.S. governments, and posits that it was constructed as a way to “explain” away UFO sightings by claiming they were merely experimental craft. He ties the Avrocar to the strange and famous case of Canadian Stefan Michalak, whose close encounter with a UFO-like object has puzzled UFOlogists for years. In this area, Campagna is on (relatively) solid ground; as the author of a previous, best-selling book on the Avro Arrow, he knows this territory well. And government disinformation campaigns have a long and sordid history. He could be right.

Or he could be totally, humiliatingly wrong. I can’t tell. Though his raw evidence is suggestive, Campagna’s analysis is beyond weak. He makes massive logical leaps across the chasms in his evidence. As I said, the standards in this genre aren’t terribly high, but he manages, occasionally, to sink even lower. In its own way, that’s kind of impressive.


Reviewer: Clive Thompson

Publisher: Stoddart


Price: $26.95

Page Count: 207 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 0-7737-3015-X

Released: May

Issue Date: 1997-7

Categories: Politics & Current Affairs