Dominic Agostino, MPP Hamilton East


Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
The Beach Strip
Died yesterday of liver cancer.

Robert Howard
Hamilton Spectator

Dominic Agostino spent his entire adult life in service to the public, as a separate school trustee, as a Hamilton alderman and Hamilton-Wentworth councillor, as a member of the provincial legislature. He was a friend to many, but first and foremost a friend to the city he served. His death of liver cancer yesterday, which came as a shock to even his closest friends, leaves a hole in the fabric of this community.
Agostino -- everyone, ally or adversary, knew him and referred to him as Dominic -- was a champion of Hamilton, of the Hamilton East riding he represented and of underdogs everywhere. He had more friends than many people have acquaintances.
He liked people, liked spending time with them and listening to them. He cared about people.
The shame is that Agostino never had the opportunity to show what he could do as a government MPP. From 1995, when he first went to the legislature, until last October's election when his party formed a government, he was the quintessential opposition MPP, showing no sign of intimidation by Mike Harris's majorities. He nipped at the heels of the Common Sense Revolution, and he drew blood on a regular basis.
From the time he was on city council, Agostino was a master of the quotable quote and the sound bite. There was a long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship between him and the media. Every reporter knew that if you needed a comment or an opinion close to deadline, Dominic was your man. So, yes, his face and comments did appear more on the news pages than most other councillors and, later, other lowly opposition MPPs. But Agostino knew there was more to it than just spouting off. He had to do it intelligently, knowledgeably and reliably. He worked hard to keep himself informed.
In The Spec newsroom, we sometimes called him "Dial-a-quote Dominic" but there was a sense of real affection in that. Agostino genuinely loved Hamilton and wanted to do good for it. A lot of politicians talk about their passion for this city, but Agostino really felt and lived it. He was a bred-in-the-bone Italian Catholic kid from east Hamilton. Many politicians claim they never forget where they came from. In many ways, all good, Agostino never left.
Dominic was on the receiving end of his share of unfavourable stories, barbed commentary and unflattering caricatures over the years -- and still remained on the best of terms with the writers, columnists and cartoonists. It wasn't just a thick skin: Agostino was fascinated by the media and more than once said that they were doing their job just as he was doing his.
It simply wasn't in his nature to be vindictive or to bear a grudge. At the end of the day, Dominic Agostino was a nice guy.
We offer our thanks for his service to this city, and our condolences to his family and all those who knew and loved him. We'll miss him, too. Hamilton is the poorer for his passing.

Lorenzo Helmer

Visitation is today (thursday the 25th)
from 4 to 9 pm
and tomarrow from 2 to 9pm.
If someone wants to start a collection to by flowers or such, call me and I will give ya a couple bucks.
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