The federal government needs to expend more political capital in Western Canada as the country becomes more deeply divided, according to a former ambassador to the U.S.

“I think we need to show national leadership — and if that means being unpopular in certain places, we have to be unpopular,” Frank McKenna, now deputy chairman at TD Bank, told BNN Bloomberg Monday.

“We have to speak truth to power. The fact is we are losing tens of billions of dollars of national wealth right now by our inability to deal with those problems in Western Canada.”

There have been repeated warnings recently about Western alienation amid frustration in oil-rich provinces as Canada struggles to add new export pipeline capacity. The regional divide was illustrated in last month’s federal election when the Liberal Party was re-elected without any seats in Alberta or Saskatchewan.

“We’re talking about a massive transfer of wealth from the pocket of Canadians to the United States of America,” McKenna said. “And right now, Alberta is the canary in the coal mine on this, and we need to listen to them.”

“At some point, we as Canadians need to stand up and understand: Alberta’s problem is our problem and we should all be on the same side.”