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B.C. Premier Christy Clark.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark says a watchdog's ruling that cleared her of conflict of interest over her political fundraising activities shows the system works and there is no need for campaign finance reform.

"I think the system works. It's all disclosed. It's all transparent. People know where the money comes from," Ms. Clark told reporters on Thursday.

A day earlier, B.C. Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser rejected two complaints about the Premier's participation in small, private fundraising events and the annual salary paid to her by the B.C. Liberal Party to top up her wages from government.

Mr. Fraser said ethical questions around campaign finance are not covered by the code of conduct he administers. He also concluded that helping to boost a political party's financial well-being is a political benefit, not a private financial one.

Political fundraising has been in the spotlight across the country. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne – who faced a furor over her own participation in small, private fundraisers – took the opposite tack from Ms. Clark on Thursday, unveiling reforms that would ban corporate and union donations, reduce the cap on individual donations and give subsidies to political parties.

While B.C. opposition MLAs are united in calling for changes to political fundraising, Ms. Clark said she was always confident she was on the right side of the law.

"A conflict arises when there's an obvious connection between the decision the government has made and money the government has received," she said. "That's right. That's what the system is there to protect us against."

The Globe and Mail reported last week that the Premier, who is paid $195,000 a year by taxpayers, also receives $50,000 from her party. As well, The Globe and Mail has revealed the Premier has attended intimate, private political fundraisers at which donors pay as much as $10,000 a seat. After those reports, NDP MLA David Eby and Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch filed complaints with the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

Mr. Eby argued that her allowance from the party gives the Premier a direct, private interest in the donations the party collected at exclusive fundraisers. Mr. Conacher said the contributions amount to a gift or personal benefit, which B.C.'s conflict law would prohibit.

Mr. Fraser rejected those complaints, saying political fundraising is a legal activity.

"The Act is not a moral code and I am not an arbiter of what may be political morality in the campaign finance context," Mr. Fraser wrote in his report, tabled on Wednesday evening in the B.C. Legislature.

He said that for him "to set parameters for the scope and scale of party fundraising events" is not appropriate.

"Whether the rules surrounding the limits on ticket prices to fundraising events, the advertising of such events, and the disclosure of attendees should be changed is a matter worthy of public ferment and debate," he wrote.

In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Eby said he accepts Mr. Fraser's ruling and hopes it will lead to public support for campaign finance reform.

"I accept that the commissioner did his best to apply the facts to the law as it stands in British Columbia. And the law is clearly inadequate in terms of what is happening in terms of fundraising and the Premier's stipend," he said. "I believe these laws will change – it's just a matter of when."

Mr. Eby noted that B.C. is an outlier in Canada on campaign finance reform. Only one other Premier, Saskatchewan's Brad Wall, still collects a stipend from his party.

The B.C. New Democrats have proposed a law to ban union and corporate donations. However, the NDP still seeks corporate and union donations at unpublicized fundraisers with its Leader, John Horgan. Mr. Eby said his party cannot give up its reliance on "big money" until the law changes because it must compete with the B.C. Liberals during campaigns.

The B.C. Green Party and independent MLA Vicki Huntington have also championed campaign finance reform.

On Thursday, Ms. Huntington said the perception around "big money" in politics is damaging to government as an institution. "Lots of people contribute to political parties – it is the large dollars that rankle people. Right now, they feel decisions are being made that lean in favour of the people who contribute the large dollars."

However, she predicted it would take a strong public backlash to persuade the Premier to change the laws.

"British Columbia is a funny duck – we are like dinosaurs when it comes to moving into the modern political age," she said.

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