When Canadians cast their votes in Monday’s federal election, more is at stake than you might realize – and not just for Canada. At home, a distinctive and mostly successful approach to politics is under stress. Abroad, Canada’s contribution to good government around the world is increasingly in doubt.

Canadians often complain that they get too little of the world’s attention. They’re right. What’s happening there is cause for concern.

Canada has long served as a model for good government and innovative social policies.

Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, this commitment to social progress has wavered, and the focus has narrowed too much to cutting taxes. Worse, the tolerance that marked Canada’s approach to immigrants is faltering, and the government has pandered to rising anti-immigrant sentiment.

Canada is no longer such a good global citizen, either. Six weeks after the vote, negotiators will gather in Paris to seek a new agreement on cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.

Canada’s commitment to this effort is weak.

Monday’s vote could also affect the campaign against the Islamic State. Whatever happens Monday, there’ll be grounds for complaint at home and abroad.

One way or another, though, it’s an election that matters.

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