Detroit River. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Could Chrystia Freeland Finally Resolve The Windsor Hum?

Windsor West MP Brian Masse says if the new foreign affairs minister wants to start her relationship with the Trump administration off on a positive note, the Windsor Hum might just be the low-hanging fruit she’ll need.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Chrystia Freeland the high-profile portfolio this week in a cabinet shuffle ahead of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. Freeland considers herself a Russophile. She speaks Russian and worked in Moscow as the bureau chief for the Financial Times. But, she’s a Russophile banned from Russia for her stance on the Ukrainian invasion.

Masse says it’ll be interesting to see how she tackles the job given, not only Moscow’s treatment of her, but Trump’s alleged ties to the Russians.

Masse says he thinks Freeland may be looking for an early success to get her post off on the right foot.

“If they saw the light, they would see this as an opportunity to develop a base relationship — for more complicated issues,” says Masse.

The Windsor Hum has been more than a nuisance for residents in west Windsor and LaSalle for years. A government-funded study concluded the vibrations rattling windows and keeping residents up at night were emanating from Zug Island, but efforts to convince U.S. Steel to change its operations have fallen flat.

Part of the problem is Canada does not have a treaty covering noise and vibration with the U.S.

Masse says a political solution is likely the only way it will be resolved.

“Without a treaty, it requires political intervention, and that has to come from a minister because it is international relations that are at discussion here,” Masse says.

And while that intervention could provide residents relief, Masse says it could solve similar challenges elsewhere.

“It’s not trivial. It’s something that is very important, not only to this region but also affects vibration and noise across both of our jurisdictions on many, many other issues,” he says.

Masse says it is too early to say what Freeland’s first move be, but he remains hopeful she’ll succeed where others have failed.