Major Tim Dunne (retired), CD, MA


Adjunct Professor – Department of Communication Studies — Mount Saint Vincent University

Writer and Analyst– Canadian Defence and Security Affairs 

Major Tim Dunne (retired) is a retired military public affairs officer of the Canadian Armed Forces. He has served for 32 years in the regular (full time) force and five years in the reserve (part time) force. He has served on both Canada’s coasts and at National Defence Headquarters. His deployments include the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Egypt, Israel, Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina, with NATO peace implementation forces in Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania and with NATO’s preventive deployment of Patriot missiles to southern Turkey at the beginning of the Iraq war in 2002.

Examples of his project work include the establishment and co-administration of the Swissair 111 international media centre in 1998, the arrival of 2,400 ethnic Albanian Kosovar refugees to Nova Scotia in 1999, the founding of the DND public affairs instructional center in Ottawa and assisting with the establishment of a public-sector communications instructional centre in Skopje, Macedonia for the six Balkan nations.

His awards include The National Award of Excellence from the Canadian Public Relations Society (1988), citation from the Privy Council of Canada (1991), the International Association of Business Communicators Silver Leaf and Gold Quill awards (1998), and the Bulgarian Order of Loyal Service (2001).

He was appointed the Military Affairs Advisor for the Province of Nova Scotia in 2007, a first in Canada, and retired from the Nova Scotia Public Service in 2009. Currently, he is an adjunct professor of communication studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, the military affairs commentator and columnist for the Chronicle Herald, and the Atlantic Canada correspondent for the FrontLine family of publications. He has been invited to submit analytical articles to The Lawyer’s Daily, Canadian Military Journal and Canadian Defence Review.

While serving as the Chief of Media Operations at the southern Europe headquarters for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Naples, Italy (2000 to 2004), he conducted public affairs seminars for public sector personnel in the Middle East, northern Africa, and eastern and western Europe, and was the director of communications at NATO press information centres for the Cooperative Key series of air exercises in Romania, Bulgaria and France.

Following a brief civil conflict in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, he filled the role of NATO Spokesman on an interim basis until a full-time spokesperson was retained. In this capacity, Major Dunne conducted daily news briefings for the international media community in Skopje; conducted numerous interviews; led an international staff of 18 military public affairs and communication and imagery personnel; prepared NATO’s master strategic communication plan for the transfer of responsibility from NATO military peacekeepers to civilian European Union truce observers; and organized an international media opportunity to cover the reintroduction of Macedonian police into the ethnic Albanian communities of the Tetovo Valley.

His work in the Balkans has been recognized by senior NATO representatives as fostering and promoting the Balkan Peace Process.

He has written two occasional papers for Dalhousie University’s Political Science Department examining the National Shipbuilding Strategy, a guide for media interviewees, several major studies on international terrorism and a handbook on strategic communication planning.

He is a former research fellow with Dalhousie University’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies and is currently research fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute for which he is preparing an analytical paper about Canadian military justice.

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Order in the Court Martial (part one of the Canadian Military Justice Series)

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian law and Canadian values are not a tide that lifts all boats equally. On their enrolment, personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) forfeit many of their Charter rights and freedoms. Penalties for “infractions” are much more severe in the military context. (Read more)

Charter rights are ignored in military justice system (part two of the Canadian Military Justice Series)

THE CHARTER makes no exceptions for Canada’s armed forces and our military personnel do not lose their rights as they take the Oath of Allegiance. But military personnel tried by summary trials are subjected to a modern version of medieval justice. They are denied the most basic and important rights the Charter guarantees to all Canadians. (Read more)

Military justice system in need of reform (part three of the Canadian Military Justice Series)

Dawn Thomson was the subject of a cover story, Rape in the Military, in the May 25, 1998, issue of Maclean’s magazine, in which she recounted being sexually assaulted while assigned to the Royal Canadian Navy’s West Coast installation. The article also told of 13 other women who were sexually assaulted, suggesting a pattern of sexual abuse of servicewomen. (Read more)

Canada’s Broken Military Justice (part four of the Canadian Military Justice series)

Canadian military law has a patchwork history. Nova Scotia passed its first Militia Act in 1758; New Brunswick followed in 1787; Lower Canada in 1803; Upper Canada in 1808 and, eventually, Canada enacted its first federal Militia Act in 1868. During the Boer War and both World Wars Canadian military personnel were subject to British military justice, the same system that executed 25 Canadians during the First World War. Canada’s National Defence Act (NDA) came into force in 1950. (Read more)

Courts martial deny soldiers the very rights they defend (part five of the Canadian Military Justice series)

Canada’s military courts martial are unfair, unjust and un-Canadian. They deny Canadian soldiers the basic rights that other Canadians are guaranteed and that military personnel are called upon to defend. (Read more)

Canadian military justice system shaken to its core (part six of the Canadian Military Justice series)

There is a maxim in the Canadian Armed Forces that corporals can be the military’s most formidable members. French Emperor Napoleon was nicknamed The Little Corporal. Adolf Hitler served in the First World War as a corporal. Paul Hellyer, architect of the unification of the Canadian Armed Forces in the late 1960s, served in the Second World War as a bombardier, or corporal in the Royal Canadian Artillery. And Robert J. Arrotta, a U.S. marine corporal, was the hero of the battle of Khe Sanh in Vietnam. (Read more)

Military justice: Past Its "Best Before" Date?

Western democracies, including Austria, Germany, Sweden, France and Japan, are abandoning military justice in peace time. It is time for Canada to do the same? Are the provisions of the National Defence Act outdated and not in step with contemporary Canadian values, principles and jurisprudence? (Read more)

Rethinking the Role of the Military Police

Canadian Military Police is a separate police force whose only responsibility is enforcing the National Defence Act among military members and on military installations. The RCMP Act states that the RCMP is the national police force of Canada. Should Canada’s Military Police be converted to a reserve (part time) organization of the Canadian Armed Forces to be called out only in times of war for their traditional wartime roles, and replaced in Canada by the RCMP? (Read more)

JAG Navigating Uncharted Shoals at Low Tide

On 25 January 2018, the defence department announced that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (NIS), the military’s version of a criminal investigation section, had laid several charges against Colonel Mario Dutil, Canada’s Chief Military Judge. (Read more)

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