'This unsmiling structure gives not one whit more than absolutely necessary'

Christopher Hume assesses the architectural splendour and deeper significance of the government’s Canada Pavilion in Vancouver.

Moore’s problem is that every building reveals something of its builder; in this instance that adds up to an architectural portrait of public-sector cynicism. The strategy was simple: Put up something quick and easy, barely more than a glorified tent, then cover the exterior walls in flags and logos and stick a big blue arch in front to make it “architectural.” After that, you send in the minister to utter the appropriate platitudes and hope that in their excitement over the Games, Canadians forget all about it.

But, in fact, the pavilion is as illustrative of this administration as is prorogation. Both show a government whose responses meet the barest technical requirements of acceptable conduct, but not one iota more. This is a regime that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. But even if this pavilion had been built for free, it would still be worth as little.

For the record, James Moore has described the pavilion as “family friendly.” His spokeswoman says it’s “quite nice.”