A former New Brunswick premier is urging all provinces to see the challenges plaguing the country’s energy sector as a national problem – and not just one facing Western Canada.

Frank McKenna, the deputy chairman of TD Bank and also a director at Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Wednesday companies cutting back on spending amid a lack of pipeline capacity and low oil prices will affect the entire economy.

“Companies have to do what’s in the interest of their shareholders and the survival of their companies, and producing oil when you’re getting paid $US14 and US$15 a barrel isn’t prudent,” McKenna said.

“Does it have an impact on the economy? Of course it does. And that’s why the country as a whole has to realize: this is not Alberta’s problem, it’s not Saskatchewan’s problem. This is Canada's problem."

The comments come after Canadian Natural’s announcement Wednesday that it is looking to cut 20 per cent of its spending in 2019.

The problems facing Canada’s oil patch are expected to be a topic of discussion when the first ministers meet in Montreal Friday. Indeed, the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week asking for a “substantive” conversation about the issue.

McKenna applauded the move to get the issue on the agenda.

“It should be, it’s a national issue,” he said.  

McKenna added that he thinks the message is being received at the federal level.

“My view now when I talk to Ottawa is they really do get it. They’re all in.” McKenna said, noting the federal government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“So I’d say Ottawa is getting the message.”