Letter from Thomas Vien, to E.H. Coleman, July 19, 1940
This typewritten letter, on official House of Commons stationary, was written by Thomas Vien MP, to E.H. Coleman, the Secretary of State and Custodian of Enemy Property, July 19, 1940. Vien, Deputy Speaker and Liberal member of the House of Commons, writes with respect to the internment of A.S. Biffi.
The Custodian of Enemy Property (CEP), a branch of the Canadian government, 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. Families of internees often did not have access to the husband's assets and bank accounts. As a result, families often had to negotiate with the CEP for stipends for daily subsistence or use of assets like an automobile. In some cases, where assets were lacking, the CEP divested itself of any interest and left the families to fend for themselves.
Vien would latter write another letter on behalf of the Biffi family (see LDICEA2012.0017.12.a-b).