Hegel wrote about Canada just once, in the Lectures on the Philosophy of History, and what he said comes down to: mostly harmless. His main concern in that passage is the future power of the United States; having noted that the poor organization of the American colonies prevented them from conquering Canada, he then adds that Canada and Mexico “present no serious threat” to the US, and then moves on. It is scarcely more consideration than Voltaire’s dismissal of Canada as “a few acres of snow”; like the fictional Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy discussing Earth, Hegel pauses on Canada only long enough to say “you don’t need to worry about it.”
And yet, as Robert Sibley notes in beginning his fascinating Northern Spirits, English Canadian philosophers have had a deep, abiding and continuing interest in Hegel, unrequited as it may be – an interest not generally shared by other countries in the anglophone West. Canadian Hegelianism turns out to be its own philosophical tradition – one that’s played a significant role in my own philosophical formation. It is only in the 21st century that people like Sibley have started writing about this Canadian Hegelianism, but it’s been around for longer.