On the surface, Canada’s Multiculturalism Act seems like such a simple thing. In essence, it puts into writing the ideals that many Canadians try to embody. It acknowledges the importance multiculturalism holds in Canada, lends support to people of all ethnic backgrounds, and promises to protect all Canadians right to preserve their culture.
However, true Multiculturalism as the act explains it is, for now, still a dream. The debate over Appropriation of Voice seems to highlight this fact. In the issue concerning whether or not indigenous stories can be told by the non-indigenous, multiculturalism becomes an argument that can be used to support either side. With non-native people telling these stories, natives can feel their voices are not being heard. So, in order to preserve their culture and thus the multiculturalism of Canada, white people should stop telling the stories of the natives and allow them to speak for themselves.
Yet, from the other side of the fence, disallowing white people to tell the stories of the natives essentially says that the culture of the natives is off limits to them. So, instead of allowing all Canadians to embrace multiculturalism, this would divide them, allowing them only to create from their own culture. The third portion of Canada’s Multicultural Policy describes promoting the evolution of Canadian society through participation of all ethnic origins. Were Canadians only allowed to tell their own specific story, Canadian society, instead of evolving, would only continue along its current lines.
When looking at the issue from all sides, the multi-sensitive minefield that is multiculturalism traps me on all sides. Both sides are right, and both sides are wrong, and almost any decision made will create conflict. The only real solution is a radical change to society itself. If the native peoples felt their voices were being heard and that they were being given their fair share, then the issue would become moot. Though it appears that society is advancing towards more equality, the years of mistreatment of ethnic minorities have left a lot of animosity. Only when both sides are ready for true equality can Canada’s multiculturalism policy become a reality. Yet, time heals all wounds, and society continues to improve, so perhaps we are getting close to that reality.