07/27/2015 15:37 EDT | Updated 07/27/2016 01:12 EDT

MPs to ask parliamentary committee to study budget watchdog's deficit forecast

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.

The Canadian Press