TORONTO — Police were called to the home of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Friday after protesters with the Black Lives Matter Toronto group staged a vigil outside her residence the night before and left a tent and other items on her driveway.
Sandy Hudson, a co-founder of the group, said members were outside the home after 10 p.m. for about 20 minutes and left a card with an invitation to meet with them, a wreath, wine — actually an empty wine bottle filled with water, she said — and cheese.
"It was like, you know, here we are inviting you, this is like a warm welcome," Hudson said. "It was peaceful. It was not loud in any way. It was respectful."
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne pauses during a speech in Ottawa on April 30, 2015. (Photo: Justin Tang/CP)
Wynne was not home, but the items were discovered Friday morning and it "unnerved" her partner, Jane Rounthwaite, the premier said.
The police's chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive unit was called in because it was not immediately known what substance was in the bottle.
The premier said she understands the passion the protesters feel about racism, but would prefer they didn't go to where she lives.
'I would like for the protest to happen other places than my home'
"I would like for the protest to happen other places than my home and you know, quite frankly, it's not just about my home, it's about the neighbours as well," Wynne said at an appearance in Ottawa.
The group also left photos of Andrew Loku, a man who was fatally shot in a confrontation with Toronto police last summer, outside Wynne's home.
Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, recently found that the officer who shot the hammer-wielding Loku did not exceed the range of justifiable force.
Black Lives Matter Toronto has been pushing municipally for the names of the officers involved in the incident to be released, but it also wants to raise concerns about the Special Investigations Unit with the provincial leaders, Hudson said.
Black Lives Matter protesters sing out front of the Toronto Police Headquarters in Toronto on Monday March 21, 2016. (Photo: Cole Burston/CP)
They have written to the premier and Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi but have not heard back, Hudson said.
"It's really difficult to figure out what to do when politicians don't respond to you for a serious issue," Hudson said. "You can imagine what the community feels like. We appreciate that and we would hope in future when we send something out that there is a response."
Wynne said that Culture Minister Michael Coteau, who she recently appointed to establish and lead a new anti-racism directorate, will engage with the protesters.
Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod tweeted that protesters should not have gone to Wynne's private residence.
"Kathleen Wynne has an office at Queens Park and another in Don Valley West," she wrote. "Protest there, lots do it. But not her family home. Just no."