Insufficient Postage: The Outrageous Collection of Phoney Stamps That Fooled Canada Post
Desmond Maley is the music librarian at the J.W. Tate Library,
Huntington College, Laurentian University.
The scrupulously uncontroversial world of Canadian postage stamps gets a
facelift thanks to this irreverent contribution from the Ottawa-based
satirical news magazine Frank.
Insufficient Postage contains more than 100 original stamp designs that
are definitely not the product of Canada Post Corp. Frank made headlines
in 1993 when its bogus stamps withstood the scrutiny of postal
authorities. Author McGregor says the impetus for the prank arose when
he heard of two Italian graphic designers who fooled their national post
office for years with custom-made stamps. He was surprised to discover
that his homemade concoctions, designed with the aid of a color laser
printer, provoked neither a raised eyebrow from his postal carrier nor a
raid from the corporation’s stamp police.
But what’s really enjoyable, of course, is how the stamps represent
Frank’s sardonic take on the Canadian social and political scene. A
mustachioed Preston Manning in quasi-Nazi uniform proclaims “Alberta
Uber Alles” while a fierce German eagle glowers in the background
above the words “Reform Party.” The “Do-Nothing PM,” Jean
Chrétien, plays golf while ignoring election promises like
renegotiating NAFTA or creating jobs. The RCMP’s commercial agreement
with Walt Disney is depicted with a saluting Mickey Mouse of the
“Royal Canadian Mouseketeers” promising “To serve, to protect, to
merchandise heavily.” Other subjects and portraits include Svend
Robinson as an “angel of mercy,” Ben Johnson’s “freestyle
doping,” Canadian peacekeeping in Bosnia and Somalia, Cruise missile
testing, and Canada as a “Paraguay North” for geriatric war
We are warned not to use these stamps for postage. But $12.99 is a
steep price for a folder containing only five sheets of stamps with 11
pages of accompanying text.