02/02/2015 05:27 EST | Updated 04/04/2015 05:59 EDT

NDP to ask finance committee to explore economic effects of low oil, weak dollar

OTTAWA - The NDP's finance critic says he will ask a House of Commons committee to study the economic impacts of low oil prices and the weaker Canadian dollar.

Nathan Cullen says he will recommend that the finance committee seek updates from private-sector economists, Finance Minister Joe Oliver and Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz on the state of the economy.

Cullen says he would also like the committee to hear from experts on the ground, such as people from the manufacturing and energy sectors.

He's planning to propose the plan Tuesday during a private committee meeting and says his colleagues from all parties have already shown interest in the idea.

Falling oil prices have prompted economists to slash economic growth forecasts for Canada and recently prompted the central bank to lower its trend-setting interest rate. The government has delayed its budget until April at the earliest because of the volatility.

Most experts consider cheaper crude a net negative for Canada, but they've also pointed to potential offsets from lower energy costs and a weaker dollar.

"There's a healthy debate going on as to what the positives and negatives will be — the net impact," Cullen said Monday of the economic conditions.

"The reality of today seems remarkably different than something we've had to deal with for quite some time."

Liberal Party finance critic Scott Brison declined to comment Monday on what might be discussed at the private committee meeting.

But Brison said that in general the committee has a role to play in studying the economic fallout of dropping oil prices and in exploring potential counter measures.

The Conservative chair of the committee, MP James Rajotte, did not comment.