I don't believe the "intelligent design" debate is a current issue in Canada. It helps to understand the origin of the "intelligent design" scam to understand why, so far, it's been an issue only in the United States (there is evidence of it being exported to Britain, now, though, and perhaps other countries).
A teacher in Arkansas had a textbook which covered the topic of evolution, and she realized that it was in violation of a state law. She didn't want to lose her job over it, but she thought it was wrong. She took the case to court, and the law was upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court; but, it went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. In 1968, in Epperson versus Arkansas
, the Supremes struck down the state law, saying it violated the separation clause of the first amendment
, which reads, in full: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
. The first clause of that amendment is sometimes referred to as the separation clause, because it is held to mandate separation of chruch and state. Mr. Justice Fortas, in the majority opinion, wrote:
There is and can be no doubt that the First Amendment does not permit the State to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma.
Nothing deterred, religiously-minded people looked for a way to get around the decision, and laws were passed which mandated the teaching of "creationism" along side the teaching of evolution as scientific theory. That ended up at the Supreme Court, as well, in the case of a Louisiana law. In 1987, in a 7 to 2 decision, in the Edwards versus Aguillard
case, that law was struck down, and writing for the majority, Mr. Justice Brennan wrote:
. . . the Creationism Act is designed either to promote the theory of creation science which embodies a particular religious tenet by requiring that creation science be taught whenever evolution is taught or to prohibit the teaching of a scientific theory disfavored by certain religious sects by forbidding the teaching of evolution when creation science is not also taught. The Establishment Clause, however, "forbids alike the preference of a religious doctrine or the prohibition of theory which is deemed antagonistic to a particular dogma." Because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to advance a particular religious belief, the Act endorses religion in violation of the First Amendment.
These boys and girls are nothing, if not persistent. They came up with "intelligent design" in the attempt to put a patina of scientific respectability on creationism, and set out by political stealth to introduce it into schools. The test case has recently been decided in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
(I've posted the Wikipedia article for that case, as i didn't see a link to FindLaw, and i'm not going to spend all afternoon on this.) The judge in this Case, John Jones III (who happens to be a conservative Republican) wrote:
For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child.
A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is that despite Defendants' protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity.
The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism"
The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.
It does not seem that anyone is willing to pay the cost of pursuing this further, and if you'll read the Wikipedia article (from which those quotes are taken, and which cites the judge's opinion), you'll see that the proponents of "intelligent design" got into a "meltdown" in this case, as the "stealth" candidates for the school board (that is people with a religious agenda who did not reveal their plans before being elected) had later (after being elected but before the court case) admitted publicly that their intent was the introduction of a religiously-based component in the curriculum. I don't know if anyone is willing to pursue this, but i doubt that they will. It's an expensive process, and their prospects aren't good--or at least don't appear to be.
So "intelligent design" arose in the United States as a means of trying to get around the 1968 and 1987 decisions by the Supremes which have served to establish evolutionary theory as a part of science education, and creationism as a religious doctrine which unacceptably violates the separation clause of the first amendment. Can't say if it will ever crop up in Canada, but don't lose faith in Steven Harper--he's a man with vision!