Anthony Merchant

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Anthony Merchant
Member of the Legislative Assembly for Regina Wascana
In office
Preceded by Henry Baker
Succeeded by Clinton Oliver White
Personal details
Born Evatt Francis Anthony Merchant, Jr.
Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Pana Merchant
Residence Saskatchewan
Alma mater University of Saskatchewan
Occupation Lawyer
Profession Lawyer

Evatt Francis Anthony "Tony" Merchant, Q.C. (born 1944) is a Canadian lawyer and former politician. He represented Regina Wascana in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan as a Liberal member from 1975 to 1978.

Life and career[edit]

Merchant was born in 1944 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. His father, Captain Evatt Francis Anthony Merchant, was a member of C Company of the The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders (died 18 November 1944 and buried at Mierlo War Cemetery, Holland).[1] His mother, Maria Margharita "Sally" Merchant (d. 2007), was a television personality and political figure. He was raised by his mother as a single parent and became part of the Merchant political family in Saskatchewan. His maternal grandfather was Saskatchewan politician Vincent Reynolds Smith, and his niece (sister's daughter) is television personality Amanda Lang.[2]

He studied at the University of Saskatchewan. He was admitted to the Saskatchewan bar in 1968, to the Alberta bar in 1976, to the British Columbia bar in 1977 and to the Arizona bar in 1987. He was also host for an open-line radio show in Saskatchewan and a freelance television interviewer. In 1976 he was a candidate for the leadership of the provincial Liberal party. That post went instead to Ted Malone.[3] Merchant ran unsuccessfully for the federal seat in Regina East in 1979 and 1980.

Merchant was named a Queen's Counsel in 1995. He served as a Lieutenant in the naval reserve. He also serves as Austrian consul for Saskatchewan. He is senior counsel at Merchant Law Group LLP, which has offices across Canada including in Toronto, St. Catharine's, Montreal, Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. Several of the largest lawsuits in Canadian history have originated from Merchant Law Group LLP's offices, multi-Billion dollar class-action lawsuits concerning Celebrex/Bextra, Vioxx, 911 Fees, defective automobiles and shareholder class actions.[4] Merchant Law Group has major involvement in the residential school lawsuits.

Residential schools[edit]

Merchant received $25 million from the federal government for his work on behalf of residential school survivors, leading to the $1.9-billion native residential schools settlement. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada confirmed he could also "earn up to $40 million in legal fees, as well as tens of millions more for sexual and physical claims that are being handled by a special adjudicator and for which the government will add 15 per cent in order to cover legal fees."[5] Tony Merchant, senior partner with the Merchant Law Group confirmed in an interview with the Star Phoenix that his firm "could gross $100 million handling lawsuits filed by survivors of Indian residential schools."[6] [7]

Family, career, and background[edit]

Merchant is a 5th generation lawyer[8] and the three Merchant sons are similarly all lawyers. Merchant’s father, grandfather, great grandfather, and great great grandfather were all lawyers in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. Merchant Law Group was founded by Tony in 1986 and has grown to 14 offices across Canada and an office in New York. In 2007, Merchant was voted the best lawyer in Regina[9] and has been referred to frequently in the media as Canada’s Class Action King.[10]

In addition to careers in the law and politics, Merchant worked for years in the media and is active in a variety of businesses. Merchant hosted an open line radio program in Saskatchewan for four years in the 1980s and worked for CBC television as an interviewer and member of ACTRA. Tony has been active in businesses and business development in Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and Arizona ad in recent years in family internet businesses centered in Europe.

Tony is a retired Lieutenant in the Navy Reserve and served until he was 45. His father was killed towards the end of hostilities in WWII, just after Tony was born. Captain Evatt F.A. Merchant had attended the Nova Scotia Catholic University, St. Francis Xavier, and later met Tony’s mother, then Sally Smith at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Smith and Merchant families have long traditions in Nova Scotia and at St. FX. Later generations followed the example of Tony’s father, his Grandfather Smith, his uncle Adrian Smith, all of whom attended St. Francis Xavier.

Tony’s father, Evatt graduated from law school at Dalhousie. Sally, also a Dalhousie graduate, whose father was a Dalhousie law graduate, and whose father in turn was also a Dalhousie law graduate practised in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia and his father before him read law and practised in Amherst, Nova Scotia. The Merchants and Smiths are prominent practising Catholics now spread into Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Ontario, although many Merchants and Smiths remain in Nova Scotia.

Tony was raised by his mother in a single parent home. He is a part of a law driven Kenndy-esque Saskatchewan political family. Tony, his mother, and grandfather, all served in the Saskatchewan legislature. Two of his brothers-in-law were Federal Cabinet Ministers. His wife is a member of the Senate of Canada, a great uncle was a Member of Parliament and their eldest son Evatt is the Saskatchewan president of the Liberal Party.

Tony has broad community involvement over the years in various sports associations, church organizations, the Austrian Edelweiss Club, the Assiniboia Club, the Cub Movement, the Saskatchewan Civil Liberties Association, the MS Society, and the Voice of the Handicapped.

Merchant has worked as an agent for the Solicitor General of Canada and Attorney General of Saskatchewan. He is on two advisory boards within the legal profession. He was the Western Canadian Corporate Counsel for a number of national firms, Corporate Counsel to a range of Saskatchewan and Alberta corporations, assisted thousands of new Canadians on immigration issues, acts in the development of First Nations law, and acts extensively in the family law area and class and mass proceedings fields. As a prominent lecturer and speaker, he has shared his advice at many speaking events across Canada.

Publications and awards[edit]

Merchant’s dedication and excellence has been recognized over the years. He was awarded the Queen’s Decoration 1976, the Canadian Long Service Medal1984, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Decoration 2002, the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal 2005, the Decoration of Honour in Silver by the Nation of Austria 2006, community service awards from the Knights of Columbus, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012. He also twice received awards from the Saskatchewan Action Committee for the Status of Women for exceptional contribution to the development of legal and political equity for women. Merchant was named a Queen’s Counsel in 1995. Merchant was awarded on two occasions Eagle Feathers by First Nations in recognition of work on behalf of First Nations[11] and residential school victims, and in 2008 was made an Honorary Chief in a War Bonnet Adoption as a member of the Black Foot Confederacy, named Flanking Warrior.

Tony’s charitable and volunteer work has been extensive, including funding a recent 500 person fundraiser for Moving Forward Together, which is a Canada-wide campaign to bring fundamental and lasting change to Aboriginal communities in Canada by supporting healing and educational programs. It helps close the standard-of-living and opportunity gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Throughout his political, legal, and business career, Tony has maintained major involvement to bring justice to First Nations people.

Merchant has written numerous publications. Merchant has been involved as counsel in thousands of cases including cases argued at the trial level in Newfoundland Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, North Dakota, Montana, Oregon, and in the Northwest Territories, and trial and appeal cases in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Arizona, and before various administrative tribunals and cases in the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada with approximately 1,400 cases in leading law journals. Merchant’s recent legal publications and invitations to speak within the profession include:

  • The Life Cycle of Pharmaceuticals, Toronto November, 2014.
  • Class Actions in the Construction Industry in Canada, Construction Law Reports, Fourth Series, Vol. 16 Part 2, February, 2013.
  • Rims Canada Conference for Canada, Tomorrow’s Risks Solutions, Saskatoon, September, 2012
  • Class Actions in the Construction Industry, Saskatoon, April, 2012
  • Lawyers’ Fees and Trend, Osgoode Hall Professional Development 2011
  • 8th National Symposium on Class Actions, Osgoode Hall, Toronto, April, 2011.
  • University of Toronto, Class Action Seminar, Ragoonan decision, Toronto, March, 2011.
  • Predominance: Classless, even with Canadian Makeover, 2010, Volume 327, Barreau de Québec, P47.
  • Développements Récents En Recours Collectifs Montreal, October, 2010.
  • The Canadian Institute, Class Actions Litigation, Toronto, September, 2010.
  • Western Canadian Class Actions Conference, (BCLE) Vancouver, November, 2009.
  • University of Ottawa “Environmental Class Actions”, Ottawa, November, 2009.
  • Speaker, 10th National Forum on Class Actions, Toronto, September, 2009.
  • Barreau du Québec Class Proceedings Conference, Montreal, October, 2008.
  • Développements Récents En Recours Collectifs, 2008, Volume 295, Qu’Appelle - The National Class, page 93.
  • Child Custody Practice and Procedures (Carswell), publication July 2006.
  • Class Actions in Canada, Toronto, March, 2006.
  • Canadian Institute - Predicting where Causation is Headed, February 2006.
  • Suggestions for Practitioners - Child Support Guidelines Reference Manual, Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1997.
  • Uncertainty: Custody Support Mobility - The Plight of Family Law, Canadian Family Law Quarterly, Sept. 1997.
  • Introduction to Battle, Child Custody Law & Practice, VI, 1994, Chapter 24, Child Custody and Practice, McLeod, Carswell, 1995.
  • Risible Compensation for the Dead Child, Journal of Motor Vehicle Law, Oct. 1995, p. 37.
  • The Bankruptcy Dodge, Family Law Quarterly, V9 1993, Sept. P162.
  • The Support Rights of Children Born Outside of Marriage, Family Law Quarterly, V7, #3, May 19, 1991, P359.
  • Proposals Relating to Saskatchewan Matrimonial Property Legislation, Family Law Quarterly, V5, #2, May, 1991, P65.

In addition to being a former Member of the Saskatchewan Legislature, Merchant is an alumnus of the International Visitors Leadership Program (US State Department) and is a former member of the Boards of Directors of Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Team Canada Inc., and BF Realty, then Bell Canada Enterprise Development. He is a former Member, Prime Minister’s Council on Asia Pacific, previously a Name with Lloyd's of London and serves in leadership roles with family corporations in the real estate and oil business and various internet operations centered in the British Isles and Europe.

Interested in world affairs, Merchant has travelled to over 130 countries. He serves as the Honorary Austrian Consul for Saskatchewan and in 2012 was elected the Dean of the Saskatchewan Consular Corps by his 18 Corps colleagues. Mr. Merchant and his wife are long standing patrons of the Arts and particularly the visual arts. They have made numerous donations, and have encouraged the collections of various public institutions and galleries in each of the four Western Provinces, as well as art donations to the National Art Gallery (Ottawa) and to the National War Museum (Ottawa), and assisted in the support of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Winnipeg). In 2012 Tony and Pana were recognized in an award ceremony sponsored by the Government of Saskatchewan for their steadfast contribution to the Arts in Saskatchewan and Canada.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Quiring, Brett (2006). "Malone, Edward Cyril (Ted) (1937–)". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadia Plains Research Center. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  4. ^ Merchant Law website
  5. ^ Raj, Althia (3 April 2013). "Tony Merchant, Senator Pana Merchant: More About Canadian Couple Named In Leaked Documents". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Parker, James (9 March 2001). "Law firm strikes goldmine". Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: The Star Phoenix. 
  7. ^ Gatehouse, Jonathon (2006). "The residential schools settlement’s biggest winner: A profile of Tony Merchant". Macleans. 
  8. ^ "5th Generation Lawyer, Tony Merchant". Lawyers Weekly 24 (#35). January 28, 2005. 
  9. ^ "BEST OF 2007". Prairie Dog Magazine. April 26, 2007. 
  10. ^ Zalac, Fréderic; Shprintsen, Alex; Cashore, Harvey. "Tony Merchant of Regina, dubbed Canada's class-action king because of the large settlements he has won for his clients". CBC News. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "Killing the Indians: Canada’s Indian Residential Schools". 60 Minutes II. CBS News. 8 May 2001.