We’re all familiar with the issues that Flint, Michigan, had with their water, and it was clear there was a racial bias and inaction by government officials that lead to criminal charges. But that would never happen in Canada, right? Based on a book written by Dr. Ingrid Waldon of the same name, the documentary There’s Something in the Water, directors Ian Daniel and Elliot Page takes us into Canadian communities in Nova Scotia and the fight for clean water.
Nova Scotia has been painted as an idyllic and welcoming province, surrounded by clean water and gorgeous land. This isn’t the case for three communities in the region. Dr. Waldron goes through the denial of colonialism and racism in Canada, starting with the community of Shelburne, N.S. The town was a settlement for Black loyalists, and in the 1940s, it was the site for a dump that had a terrible residual consequences. There’s also Pictou Landing and Boat Harbour, known to the Indigenous community as A’Se’k, sold to a paper mill in 1965 that used the freshwater to discharge their toxic effluent. Page then takes us to Stewiacke, where the Grassroots Grandmothers fight a proposed brine pipeline threatening the Shubenacadie River, a lifeline for the Indigenous community.
There’s Something in the Water makes an impact as these ignored communities and the women who protect them warn the rest of Canada, and the world, that we must look after the water and land that nourishes us before it’s too late.