POLITICS

Federal Budget Deficit Forecast Merits Study, MPs Urge Committee

07/27/2015 04:40 EDT | Updated 07/27/2015 04:59 EDT
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver speaks on the sudden death of his predecessor, former Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty, at the start of a G20 ministerial meeting at the International Monetary Fund Headquarters on April 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. Flaherty died today less than a month after resigning from his post. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

OTTAWA — Opposition MPs are urging a parliamentary committee to study a recent report that says the Harper government is on track to run a budget deficit this year.

Last week, the parliamentary budget office released an analysis based on downgraded Bank of Canada projections that showed Ottawa was headed for a $1-billion shortfall in 2015-16.

The budget watchdog's calculation raised doubts about the ruling Conservatives' long-standing pledge to balance the election-year books — including their $1.4-billion surplus projection for this year.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said his government is "well ahead'' of its own forecast for a balanced budget this year — despite Canada's economic struggles to start 2015.

Liberal finance critic Scott Brison has called on the government to back up that claim by making public the Finance Department's latest budgetary projections in front of the House of Commons finance committee.

Committee members are to meet to discuss whether to take a closer look at the budget office's latest fiscal forecast.

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