Some longtime friends recently came calling with a new challenge.
They came on behalf of Italy's Union of Christian Democrats - a moderate centre-right partner in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government.
They asked the former public works minister, who hails from Italy, to become the Christian Democrats' campaign chairman for Canada.
"So I said, 'yes,' " said Gagliano, who is working as a volunteer.
"I know politics, I know Quebec, I know the Italian community. . . and I'm giving them a hand."
A total of 18 seats have been opened up in Italy's upper and lower houses of parliament for candidates from abroad.
Italians living in North America will have a chance to elect two members to the lower-house chamber of deputies and one member to the senate.
"This is a historic occasion and I'm giving my contribution," Gagliano said.
He plans to help two Italian-language journalists from Toronto get elected in a race against fellow Italian citizens from across Canada, the United States and Mexico.
However, the race in Canada isn't officially under way yet. Unlike the U.S. and a handful of other countries, Canada has not yet formally agreed to allow its residents to participate.
If Gagliano, as a former minister of the Crown and life member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, wants to get involved in Italian partisan politics, he should renounce his Canadian citizenship and take up Italian citizenship again.
I also wonder why Italy has these extra-territorial legislative seats. Can you imagine the uproar if Canada tried to create parliamentary seats for Canadian citizens resident abroad, especially in the United States?
Diplomats and soldiers stationed abroad still have to claim a Canadian residence in order to vote in elections. Why should Canadians living abroad of their own free will have the privilege of representation in Parliament when their only ties to the country may be on paper alone?