To a major extent, last week’s federal election was based on fear. But I disagree with those who say the new federal government was elected because of Canadians’ fear of instability. If that’s true, why did so many people vote for the New Democratic Party, so few vote Liberal, hardly any vote for the Bloc Quebecois, and even a handful vote for the Green Party?

That’s a huge change. And it’s hardly an endorsement for stability and for staying the course.

More credible is the suggestion that the fear of the unknown or unclear economic policies drove voters’ decisions. At least that’s measurable, in the longer term. Four years from now, voters will measure the government by how well it met its own economic mandate — that is, how quickly and sustainably Canada achieved economic recovery, and how economically stable our country has become.

We’re an exporting nation. Exports account for about 30 per cent of our gross domestic product. Part of our prosperity and economic stability depends on having something to trade or sell to other countries.

That’s where research, education and agriculture comes in. Any Canadian government that really wants economic stability must commit itself to a strong research agenda, and support for agriculture. I write about this imperative in my Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury.

The photo above is of corn harvesting in Ontario, from The Combine Forum.