Extraterrestrials want to move to Canada.
That's according to the International Raelian Movement, a religious group that plans to formally petition the Canadian government on Wednesday for permission to build an embassy for aliens.
Raelism was founded by former French auto racer and journalist Claude Vorilhon in the early 1970s. He goes by Rael these days.
The religion's central tenet is that all life on Earth was created by an extraterrestrial species called the Elohim as part of a giant science experiment. The group believes that the Elohim will return to Earth when a suitable embassy is built for them. The embassy would naturally be equipped with a landing pad for the Elohim's spaceships.
The Raelian Movement has long lobbied for permission to build the structure in Israel, but have been met with refusal. It probably didn't help that the original logo for the religion included a swastika. The group says it has since begun using an altered logo on orders from the Elohim
On Wedneday, The Raelians plan to hold a press conference at the Marriott Hotel in Ottawa to ask the Canadian government for a lot of four square kilometres on which to build the embassy. They don't care too much where, as long as it's not in the Arctic, a spokesperson told Postmedia. The Elohim, apparently, do not dig the cold.
The Raelians also want extraterritoriality for the embassy, which would presumably protect the group from pesky terrestrial taxes.
But the benefits for Canada could be significant, the group says.
"Canada will benefit from an economic impact of tens of billions of dollars in the long term," said spokesperson Daniel Turcotte in a press release. "In addition, the host country of this Embassy will improve and enjoy an immense prestige being the interplanetary hub. The residents of this country will be the first to benefit from the Elohim's very advanced technology in the fields, among others, of bio-robotics, nanotechnology, medicine, transport and communications, as well as an access to some sources of energy currently impossible to imagine by our scientists."
The Raelians are perhaps best-known for their claims of scientific superiority. In 2002, the Raelian-affiliated company Clonaid claimed it had created the first ever human clone, a baby named Eve. The company and the Raelians have yet to provide DNA proof of their claims.
More recently, the Raelians have focused on spreading their free love message. In 2010, Rael called on Tiger Words to chill out and embrace a polyamorous lifestyle. The group sponsors an annual Go Topless Day.
A Raelian chats with a man on a Toronto streetcar in 2011 as part of a topless protest.
The Raelians say they have roughly 90,000 members worldwide, concentrated primarily in South Korea, Japan and Canada.
It seems unlikely that the Raelians will get what they want. The group applied for tax-exempt status in Canada in the 1990s. The request was refused.
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