It was way back at the beginning of May I wrote a piece talking about the state of the Liberal Party, but specifically about the number of Liberal MPs who were decided not to run again. The resignation of Andrew Leslie in particular stood out, not just because of his stature but because of the timing. That made me ask aloud what that said about their position, and I wrote the following to that point:

“But then I have to come back to that timing thing. How does the announcement of an MP walking away on May 1st compare to someone who decided long before this? You could easily argue is speaks more loudly. And I will say that while I didn’t agree with the chatter and narrative that formed for a while around Singh and MPs not re-offering, I do agree when you hit a certain threshold it becomes harder and harder to ignore. For the governing Liberals, the resignation of Andrew Leslie feels like that threshold being hit, and there are rumours floating around that he won’t be the last to make a similar announcement. So maybe now is the time to ask the question about why so many solid, hard working MPs are walking away. Hey, at least the timing would demand it because MPs don’t tend to make these decisions this late in the game if things are all hunky dory.”

This comment was true when I wrote it back on May 1st and is one that only gets truer as we get closer to the campaign. That’s what made these two pieces of news from the Red Team jump out at me today, Monday on the last scheduled sitting week of the House of Commons:

Okay, this is an interesting turn of events folks. First of all, announcing on June 17th that you’re not running is odd by itself. Having two MPs announce the same thing on that same day? Also, quite odd. But when you add to that the fact that both are already nominated to run for re-election in the Fall? This all goes beyond “odd” and starts to send up some warning flares that draw attention. How is it that both of these MPs decided to do this now, of all times?

Both Mr. Tan and Mr. Baylis are rookie MPs and both represent ridings (in the GTA and Montreal) that are relatively safe, especially when compared to other members of their caucus. While the news of Mr. Baylis’ decision is just coming out with no details, Mr. Tan said on Facebook that he had “come to conclusion that time has now come to spend more time with family and pursue other careers.” I don’t doubt Mr. Tan’s sincerity, as I got to know him a bit while working in the Natural Resources committee of the House of Commons, where he was a member. But I do believe that the timing of this decision, combined with the fact that was already nominated to run again, do make it fair to ask “what is going on here?”

Regardless of the reasons, I will come back to that quote from the piece I wrote back in May: MPs don’t tend to make these decisions this late in the game if things are all hunky dory. So what gives? Things had seemed to have settled for the Liberals and they seemed to be rebounding from the whole SNC/PMO Scandal. Things seemed to be better, but these two resignations are not signs of better; they are signs of quite the opposite actually. Losing two incumbents in seats that the Liberals will be counting on holding is not a good thing. Having to have new names on those ballots will make it harder to hold onto those seats, especially given the late timing. Anyway, we’ll see if anything more comes out about these decisions but if anything, these two resignations do force us to pay more attention to the state of the government and ask more questions. We thought maybe the rough time had passed, but maybe this is a sign that they aren’t done yet. Time will tell.