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First Nations group taking Tories’ aboriginal education plan to court

Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, is shown in April, 2008.

JACQUES BOISSINOT/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is requesting a judicial review of the Conservative government's reworked plan for aboriginal education.

The group is asking the Federal Court to prevent the legislation from going ahead without its endorsement.

The assembly's chief, Ghislain Picard, and Kitigan Zibi Chief Gilbert Whiteduck are scheduled to hold a news conference tomorrow in Montreal.

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A spokeswoman for the group declined to provide a copy of the judicial review request before the news conference.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently unveiled his government's plan to reform First Nations education, which was retooled after it ran into opposition from aboriginals that threatened to derail the reform process.

The Assembly of First Nations had called on the government to ensure aboriginal communities retain control of education and to provide a statutory funding guarantee, recognition of First Nations languages and culture, shared oversight and ongoing, meaningful engagement.

AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo has endorsed the revised plan.

The federal government is to provide $1.25-billion over three years starting in 2016 for core education, which includes language and cultural instruction.

There's a provision for a 4.5 per cent annual increase. Another $500-million over seven years is to go toward infrastructure and $160-million over four years is set aside for implementation.

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