Letter from Thomas Vien, to Secretary of State & Custodian of Enemy Property, Jan 23, 1941
Letter from Thomas Vien MP, to the Secretary of State and Custodian of Enemy Property, January 23, 1941. Vien, Deputy Speaker and Liberal member of the House of Commons, writes with respect to the internment of A.S. Biffi, noting his French-born wife and their Canadian-born children are in financial need. Although Mrs. Biffi had sought out government relief, she had been declined as Biffi still possessed assets in the form of a Life Insurance Policy. Vien intercedes on her behalf for permission to draw the cash value of the policy, as well as the funds remaining from the sale of Biffi's automobile.
The Custodian of Enemy Property (CEP) was a branch of the Canadian government that oversaw the administration of assets belonging to internees and other enemy aliens. This government office served a dual function. Acting as a trustee for the internee/enemy alien, the office and its agents also protected the interests of the creditors. The CEP would pay off an internee’s debts by selling his or her property or businesses. It also collected money owed to internees by others. Each accounting firm hired by the CEP would bill an internee for administrative costs even though internees did not ask for the CEP to be involved.