Holtz: Nothing says loyalty like being thrown under a bus

Regular Gazette columnist Jim Holtz sets his sights on PM Harper's former chief of staff.

I feel a little sorry for Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright, whom the media has lately described as having been “thrown under the bus” by the Prime Minister. I don’t feel quite as sorry for him though as for my late cousin Vito. Mr. Wright, in truth, was merely fired. When Vito had a similar fallout with his boss, Primo Violinista, he too was thrown under a bus. A real bus.Like Mr. Wright, Vito had been a successful businessman before becoming Primo’s right hand man. In Vito’s case, by businessman I mean he ran a collection agency for several used car dealers in Montreal and worked as a bouncer at Le Chat Gris, a disco bar. By disco bar I mean a sleazy lounge that served as a front for Primo’s trade in bootleg cigarettes and high jacked booze.Mr. Wright was of course a much more successful man than Vito; he was wealthy, highly thought of, intelligent.  However, he was apparently just as ignorant as Vito when it came to the subtle use of language employed by elected officials and/or hoodlums, both of whom must protect themselves from the slightest appearance of wrong doing. Both might occasionally hear their superiors say, “make this go away” or “do what is necessary” or “take care of him” perhaps accompanied by “I don’t want to know.” To persons unskilled in the nuances of political/criminal doublespeak, those kind of statements are open to interpretation. In Mr. Wright’s case, he apparently interpreted a statement to mean that he should write Mr. Duffy a check for $90,000, thereby making him go away happy. Probably, given Mr Wright’s wealth and status, he received an appropriate punishment for his mistake: some embarrassment and humiliation.Vito’s mistake, while similar, was not punished as lightly.  Primo sent Vito down to the office of his transportation company to settle scores with Nicky, the company manager who Primo believed had been skimming money. According to testimony at Primo’s trial, he told Vito to “take care of Nicky; make him go away.” Vito dutifully gave Nicky five thousand dollars and a bus ticket to Winnipeg. When Primo heard the story he sent two other employees to pick up Vito and “instruct everybody how to make a nice pavement pizza.” They were more familiar with Primo’s colourful language and threw Vito under the wheels of the next Greyhound Winnipeg Express.Primo was acquitted of course. Not enough evidence; it was all just hearsay. Prime Minister Harper will no doubt also remain unscathed for the same reason. Plus, replacements for men like that are hard to find. It takes a certain kind of person to throw a loyal employee under a bus.

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