Two more cabinet ministers in the Harper government have signalled they're heading for the exits as the clock ticks down to the next federal election.
Heritage Minister Shelly Glover and International Development Minister Christian Paradis both chose the Good Friday holiday to announce they're preparing to leave politics.
The timing meant they didn't have to run a gauntlet of media and explain why they are bowing out when there's a little more than six months left before an expected federal ballot.
They both cited personal reasons.
Ms. Glover and Mr. Paradis will remain in cabinet until the election but will not seek another term in office.
There has now been three retirement announcements in the Harper cabinet in 60 days.
A Conservative source wouldn't rule out the possibility of more departures, pointing to the crop of MPs elected in 1997 or 2000 as those most likely to consider calling it quits.
Former foreign affairs minister John Baird left cabinet rather abruptly in February to pursue a private career and he's since been hired by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li as an adviser.
The late departure notices from Ms. Glover and Mr. Paradis leave replacement candidates less time to build their profiles.
While they were by no means household names, Mr. Paradis was an incumbent MP in Quebec, a province where the Conservatives have been repeatedly frustrated in their attempts to gain ground.
Ms. Glover was a rarity as a bilingual female minister in the Harper government. She also had credibility on law-and-order files – perhaps the No. 1 issue for the Conservatives – as a former police officer.
The Winnipeg MP, who has previously disclosed one of her children has brain cancer, said she plans to return to her previous career as a police officer. First elected in 2008, she took a leave of absence from the Winnipeg Police Service to enter politics.
"This past 18 months has been particularly difficult for me and my family as we have dealt with some very serious health issues while I was away from home. As their wife, mother and grandmother ... my family is very grateful that I am coming home," Ms. Glover said in a statement.
Her staff said it's still unclear what role Ms. Glover would play in the Winnipeg police.
"As for where she goes back to on the police force – the chief will make that determination and she is happy to serve where he needs her, but she does miss street work," press secretary Marisa Monnin said.
Elected in 2006, Mr. Paradis's star in the Harper government had waned in recent years. He reached the zenith of his federal political career as industry minister. In 2013, he was demoted to the lower ranked portfolio of international development and relinquished his role as Quebec lieutenant for the party.
In a statement, Mr. Paradis, a lawyer from south-central Quebec, described his time in politics as a journey that was "perilous, risky and difficult."
More than two dozen Conservative MPs have announced their intention to step down as of the next election including Diane Ablonczy, first elected as a Reform Party MP in 1993, and one-time defence minister Gordon O'Connor. This represents more than 15 per cent of the current Tory caucus.
The Prime Minister's Office played down the retirement announcements with a spokesman saying "we fully understand their desire to spend more time with their families and wish them well."
NDP MP Charlie Angus called the departures "more bad news for Stephen Harper on the eve of an election with an increasingly shaky economy" and a combat mission in Iraq and Syria. "The loss of these two cabinet ministers – one from Quebec and a bilingual woman from the West – are gaps he can't fill."