CIBC reports $1.4-billion first quarter profit as poorest British Columbians get shafted again

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      Two news stories caught my attention this week.

      In the first, the B.C. NDP is criticizing the B.C. Liberal government for not increasing social-assistance rates in its recent budget.

      An employable single person receives $610 per month, including a measly $375 to cover shelter costs.

      A couple deemed to be employable receives $872 per month, including a maximum of $575 to cover shelter costs.

      The B.C. Liberal government has rolled up massive surpluses year after year under Christy Clark but has not seen fit to share any of this bounty with the province's poorest residents.

      The province's appalling record on addressing poverty is laid out in author Andrew MacLeod's A Better Place on Earth: The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about what it's like to be poor in Canada's most expensive city.

      Meanwhile, one of the country's biggest banks, CIBC, has just reported a $1.41-billion first-quarter profit.

      That's a hefty increase from the humungous $941-million first-quarter profit last year.

      Tomorrow, it's the Royal Bank's turn to reveal how much money it made in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

      Prior to the 2013 B.C. election, then NDP leader Adrian Dix promised to restore a corporate capital tax on banks, which was phased out by the B.C. Liberals between 2008 and 2010.

      At the time, Dix said that imposing this tax at the 2008 level would generate just over $100 million per year.

      The B.C. Liberals did not restore the tax. The governing party saw no need to ask banks to pay a little more to cover social programs, even though their sky-high credit-card interest rates are making it tougher for poor people to make ends meet.

      Last April on this website, the executive director of Integrity B.C., Dermod Travis, pointed out that banks contributed almost $800,000 to the B.C. Liberals over the previous 11 years.

      Coincidentally, the largest donor among the banks by far was CIBC, which kicked in $245,410 over that period. Its share price has shot up by by more than $30 over the past year, lining the pockets of investors.

      The bottom line is that the poor continue getting the shaft as bank shareholders see their wealth increase.

      That's Christy Clark's B.C. for you.