As difficult as this task may seem today, it is not impossible. Through art, empathy and compassion can be used to generate respect for others, recognition of differences, and ultimately the socio-legal changes needed to meaningfully embrace multiculturalism and legal pluralism. Art and empathy are just two tools in our toolbox, but they are powerful tools that we should not overlook. Ultimately, Canada`s history is painful in many ways, but like a work of art, it can be used to learn and heal from it. In Indonesia, recognition and respect are necessary, but also sufficient to embody legal pluralism. Therefore, decolonization was not necessary for the continuity of legal pluralism. Why, then, is decolonization necessary in Canada for legal pluralism to finally flourish? As mentioned earlier, the history of Canada and Indonesia is very different. Canada`s history and current choices suggest that the Canadian government lacks the ethical capacity for multiculturalism to thrive. From Canada`s violent origins, to the mass assimilation of Indigenous peoples, including the residential school crisis, to the Canadian government`s continued refusal to comply with the demands of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canada has been unwilling and unable to view Indigenous peoples as deserving of the right to self-determination. Learning to live together is not an easy task and Canada still has a lot of work to do. Unlike other colonial and post-colonial states, Canada has yet to meaningfully embody multiculturalism, as evidenced by the absence of true legal pluralism. The continued refusal to implement Indigenous legal traditions and the total prohibition of religious law in Ontario show that Canada now maintains its allegiance to monism in law.
Camilla Pagani & Francesco Robustelli, “Youth, multiculturalism and educational interventions for the development of empathy” (2011) 61:200-201 ISSJ 247 to 252. Ghislain Otis, “Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights: A New Framework for Managing Legal Pluralism in Canada?” (2014) 46:3 J Leg Pluralism & Unofficial L 320 to 325. Regarding the first lesson, Bell notes that there is a general need for more respect to be different in law and in our world if we are to live together. I suggest that respect go hand in hand with recognition of the capacity and autonomy of those who are different from us. In the Canadian context, it is clear that when the first settlers invaded Turtle Island and spread European law, Indigenous peoples were not recognized for their agency or autonomy. The cultures of the various Indigenous nations of Turtle Island were not recognized or respected. As has already been demonstrated, this lack of recognition and respect continues to this day through the State`s refusal to recognize indigenous legal systems. As a result, the Court continues to deny Indigenous peoples the right to self-determination. The above analysis shows that respect for culture, recognition of agency and commitment to decolonization underpin Canada`s potential for multiculturalism and legal pluralism. While these are key tools in our work to live together, they are not our starting point.
Telling people to respect others and declaring a total transformation of Canadian society will not work. In fact, this is why we are two decades into the 21st century and still live under a flourishing colonial structure where multiculturalism is little more than a well-maintained myth. Before achieving respect and decolonization, we must first awaken the will to move towards a corresponding social and legal revolution. Simply put, we need to create care beyond differences. The central objective of this book is to provide an overview of two phenomena: the living reality of legal pluralism in Ecuador and the contemporary relationship between the indigenous population and the state. In other words, legal pluralism will serve as an empirical lens through which Ecuador`s “multinationalism” will be examined.1 The purpose of this chapter is to examine the theoretical debates surrounding the main concepts of this book: customary law, legal pluralism, the state, and multiculturalism. In order to understand how customary law works in everyday practice, we can deduce from this understanding that legal pluralism can function both as a metric and as a tool in the ongoing work of the search for living together. A measure of the degree to which a society adopts legal pluralism indicates the extent to which tolerance and, ideally, acceptance are accepted. On the other hand, legal pluralism can serve as a tool, since the adoption of legal pluralism can help bring a society closer to multiculturalism.
As Bell suggests, the two concepts of multiculturalism and legal pluralism feed off each other. Finally, if we try to use art as a way to develop empathy and, ultimately, multiculturalism, we need to be aware of the issues and messages that are centered. Multiculturalism is in many ways the antidote to oppression and inequality. So when we try to overcome oppression, it naturally follows that art is used to represent the pain of being oppressed. The goal is to expose suffering and gather compassion. But we must be careful not to tell only stories of suffering. The lives of those who are marginalized are fraught with pitfalls, but this is not the essence of our existence. We also need to show Indigenous pride, black love, queer joy, etc. Suffering is powerful, and as such, it is important to create empathy and understanding, but also joy. By showing joy and love, we humanize, but we also normalize “others” by portraying them as multidimensional people, just like ourselves. Like Canada, Indonesia hosted various legal regimes prior to colonization, including the Adat, Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic traditions.
Similarly, in North America or on Turtle Island, a variety of Indigenous nations signified a variety of legal traditions, many of which overlapped geographically. Unlike Canada, however, the colonization of Indonesia perpetuated the legal traditions that existed before the arrival of Europeans. Legal pluralism has continued, albeit with a remarkable new dimension – the application of Dutch law by the Dutch people. The difference in the history of legal pluralism, or lack thereof, in Indonesia and Canada can be seen in the way colonization unfolded. At first, French and English colonizers in Canada considered the land terra nullius; The land was considered empty and uninhabited. In the eyes of Europeans, the land belonged to no one and sheltered no one. If so, then of course, there is no law of the land. In this perceived absence, the way was opened for European law to fill the space of the “New World”.
There is no need to create space for alternative legal systems where there are none. Of course, we know that this is an ignorant and racist misunderstanding of Turtle Island at the time of contact. The states of Indonesia, Singapore and Canada define or describe themselves as multicultural. Since the law is part of its own culture, the multiculturalism of a state should lead that state to recognize a variety of laws that recognize some form of legal pluralism. Singapore and Indonesia practice legal pluralism by recognizing laws other than State law. However, Canada does not really do that. The author questions Canada`s commitment to multiculturalism in law. DOI Link for Legal Pluralism, Multiculturalism and the State However, Canada`s legal development must not stop there.