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B.C. Premier Christy Clark arrives to take part in the Meeting of First Ministers in Ottawa on Dec. 9, 2016.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

B.C. Premier Christy Clark is being accused of trying to distract from concerns about the lack of political-fundraising limits in the province with her decision to forgo a party stipend and a commitment to enact real-time donation reporting through legislation.

Both measures, announced and touted on the weekend, come amid criticism over six-figure donations for the governing Liberals ahead of a the May provincial election.

"It's an attempted distraction," said Dermod Travis, executive director of IntegrityBC, a non-partisan political watchdog organization that has raised concerns about the lack of limits.

"The subtext and calculation is to keep what they have going. They like it. It's good for them."

On Friday, Ms. Clark said she will no longer accept a $50,000 stipend provided by her party because it has become a "distraction." Instead, she will submit her expenses for repayment.

A party spokesperson declined, on Sunday, to disclose what kind of expenses the Premier might be eligible to claim.

Last year, The Globe and Mail revealed that Ms. Clark received the annual top-up to her salary from the party. At the time, the Liberals disclosed Ms. Clark has received more than $277,000 from the party since 2011. The stipend comes atop her $195,000 salary as premier.

Pressed for reforms to the political-donation system in B.C., the Liberals have also touted their move to release donation information in a "real-time" manner ahead of a schedule mandated by Elections BC. This month, they released totals and donors for 2016 and the early part of this year.

On Sunday, a spokesman for Ms. Clark said the government will be introducing legislation to make such reporting the law in B.C.

"The government will be introducing legislation for greater transparency with real-time reporting of political donations by all parties," said the statement from Stephen Smart.

In the statement, Mr. Smart also said the NDP's opposition to the idea means voters won't know who has donated to the NDP until after the election in May.

"The Premier continues to call on the NDP to open their books and join us in real-time reporting of political donations," Mr. Smart said.

Opposition Leader John Horgan was dismissive Sunday of the Liberal approach.

"I believe that anything short of banning big money is not good enough," he said in an interview.

"Trying to pretend that real-time disclosure is somehow going to eliminate a government that has been in the pocket of millionaires for the last number of years is going to be well short of what the public expects," said Mr. Horgan.

"They're in a bit of a box here."

Mr. Horgan said the NDP had covered the cost of a few suits at the cost of a "couple thousand bucks" when he became party leader in 2014, but not since.

He said significant party travel, referring to a conference in Ottawa and regional travels, is covered by the party though he tends to cover many costs himself.

"This is my practice: If I am going to an NDP convention in Vancouver and I stay in a hotel, I pay for the hotel. I don't get a per diem."

He said that if he dines on party business, he has been paying out of pocket and not been billing the costs to the party.

Mr. Horgan said he was not aware of government plans to introduce legislation about real-time donations, and could not comment before seeing the legislation.

Once the legislature resumes sitting next month, the NDP plans to introduce a bill that would ban corporate and union donations to political parties. It is the sixth time the party has done so.

However, the NDP has also faced questions about its fundraising after disclosure of events at which attendees could pay $10,000 to dine with Mr. Horgan – the NDP declined to identify attendees. Mr. Horgan has said the party needs to raise money to compete with the Liberals and it would change the system if elected to power.

Mr. Smart, speaking for the Premier, ruled out a system in which taxpayers subsidize political parties.

"Our government would rather see [taxpayer] tax dollars go into vital services such as education and health care."

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