Let’s look at Canadian politics placements for this year. 11 positions were advertised this year, and three were declared failed searches. The rankings:
Queen's is the clear winner, with three placements (Leger, Macfarlane, Tolley) from a relatively small program. This follows up on their strong performance last year. Furthermore, a Queen's ABD beat out both APs and a UofT ABD and took the prized UTM job that LSE, UBC, and McGill candidates couldn't win last year. It's clear that Queen's is now the strongest department in the country for training in Canadian politics, and we should be sending our students there if we want them to get jobs (although this may not be the case any longer with one of their Canadianist stars departing for Memorial).
UBC performed respectably, with two strong candidates placing in mid-sized departments (Dhamoon, Koop). However, both candidates have been out for 2-3 years, casting doubt on the ability of the department (which has seen substantial turnover, including filling old Canadianists' positions with comparativists) to place their recent grads and ABDs in Canadian politics positions. Time will tell.
McGill placed only a single candidate (Thomas, though not yet confirmed), a poor outcome for a large program. It's likely that the clear comparative preference expressed in the Calgary job ad contributed to the success of a McGill grad, and that they are unlikely to be competitive in straight Canadian politics competitions in the future.
UofT is the clear loser. Not a single placement from a graduate program that is huge, and certainly the largest in Canada. It's obvious that the quality of training in Canadian politics at the UofT has declined precipitously and, as with McGill, its grads cannot hope to compete in future competitions for Canadianist positions unless their three most recent Canadian hires (Loewen, Cochrane and Tolley, all excellent) take the reins in graduate training and shove aside the older faculty responsible for the 'comparative turn' in that department.
It seems as though Queen's is stepping up to the plate as the primary department for training Canadian specialists, as UofT, McGill and, to a lesser extent, UBC vacate the subfield. The result of the 'Comparative Turn' at UofT and McGill and corresponding curriculum changes at these departments has been to produce poorly trained candidates that have little hope of winning in Canadianist competitions. The damage has been done and students should be aware of future poor job prospects when making the decision to enroll in those programs. While I have hope for UofT, McGill seems clueless about the damage its reputation is sustaining in the wider community.
Queen's has the star Banting and solid Canadianists like Heibert and Goodyear-Grant. All of these people have placed candidates in recent years. But Matthews is leaving, and the department will need to fill his position next year. One hopes, given their recent success in filling the niche vacated by Comparative Turn departments as an outstanding training site for the Canadianists of the future, that they will make a solid Canadian hire and resist the temptation to add comparative requirements for the position. Queen's Political Studies has a unique opportunity to shape the subfield in the decades to come, much as it has in decades past.