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NY Times report on B.C. political cash ‘laughable,’ says deputy premier

B.C. political cash fallout
WATCH: More fallout tonight to the New York Times calling BC "the wild west of political cash". Robin Gill has more.

Days after the New York Times called B.C. the “Wild West of Canadian Political Cash,” Premier Christy Clark has yet to respond to criticism over the annual stipend she receives from British Columbia’s Liberal Party.

On Monday, Deputy Premier Rich Coleman questioned the report and defended Clark — who receives $50,000 a year from the B.C. Liberals on top of her taxpayer-funded salary of $192,000 — saying the Times should spend less time focusing on Canadian politics and more time looking at what’s going on in their own backyard.

READ MORE: ‘It’s embarrassing’: Experts, politicians weigh in on New York Times article exposing B.C. political cash

“I find it quite laughable after watching people spend a billion dollars to run for the presidency of the United States and the money they raise down there,” Coleman told Global sister station CKNW. “It’s quite funny to me that the New York Times would focus out on British Columbia.”

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B.C.’s conflict of interest commissioner —  whose son works for the premier — has twice ruled the donation-supplied stipend isn’t a conflict for Clark.

READ MORE: Clark draws fire for taking B.C. Liberal Party stipend above her salary

But UBC political scientist professor Max Cameron said B.C. needs to change the rules.

“It really smacks of corruption,” he said. “It appears like selling access in return for which the premier is able to line her own pockets. That’s not illegal but it really should be.”

– With files from Robin Gill, Sean Boynton and Jesse Ferreras