|Member of the Legislative Assembly for Regina Wascana|
|Preceded by||Henry Baker|
|Succeeded by||Clinton Oliver White|
|Born||Evatt Francis Anthony Merchant
Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada
|Alma mater||University of Saskatchewan|
Evatt Francis Anthony "Tony" Merchant, Q.C. (born 1944) is a Canadian lawyer, businessman and former politician. He represented Regina Wascana in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan as a Liberal member. He has been referred to frequently in the media as Canada’s Class Action King.
Merchant is a 5th generation lawyer 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. His father was killed in action 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. 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, the Netherlands). 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,later a judge, and his niece (sister's daughter) is television personality Amanda Lang. 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. He is a part of a law driven Kennedy-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 Pana is a member of Canada's senate (2002–present).
Tony has broad community service 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.
He studied arts and law at the University of Saskatchewan and business administration at the University of Regina. 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 with the CBC. In 1976 he was a candidate for the leadership of the provincial Liberal party. That post went instead to Ted Malone. Merchant ran unsuccessfully for the Canadian House of Commons in Regina East in 1979 and 1980.
Merchant was named a Queen's Counsel in 1995. He served in the army and naval reserves. Tony is a retired Lieutenant in the Navy Reserve and served until he was 45. He also serves as Austrian consul for Saskatchewan and as the Dean of the Saskatchewan Consular Corps. 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, Arizona, and Florida, and in recent years in family internet businesses centered in Europe.
Merchant Law Group
Tony Merchant founded the Merchant Law in 1986; it has grown to 11 offices across Canada and an office in New York. He is senior counsel at Merchant Law Group LLP, which has offices across Canada including in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. Several of the largest lawsuits in Canadian history have originated from Merchant Law offices, multi-Billion dollar class-action lawsuits concerning Celebrex/Bextra, Vioxx, 911 Fees, defective automobiles and shareholder class actions.
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.
Merchant has been involved as counsel in 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, The Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Merchant Law has major involvement in the residential school lawsuits. Merchant received $25 million from the federal government for his work on behalf of residential school survivors, leading to the $5-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."
In 2007, Merchant was voted the best lawyer in Regina by the Prairie Dog Magazine. He was awarded the Queen’s Decoration 1976, the Canadian Long Service Medal 1984, 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 equality 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 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 in Cree Ash-pha-suoy meaning Flanking Warrior.
As a prominent lecturer and speaker, he has shared his advice at many speaking events across Canada. He has approximately 1,500 of his cases in leading law journals. Merchant’s recent legal publications and invitations to speak within the profession include:
- Protecting your Lifestyle - Tax and Assets, January, 2016
- 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.
- 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.
Merchant is married to Pana Merchant, a member of the Senate of Canada.
- ""Tony Merchant Canada's class-action king because of the large settlements has won for his clients".". CBC News.
- "5th Generation Lawyer, Tony Merchant". Lawyers Weekly. 24 (#35). January 28, 2005.
- Sands, Richard, The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders
- "Sally Merchant", The Globe and Mail, 13 March 2008, retrieved 5 April 2016
- Quiring, Brett (2006). "Malone, Edward Cyril (Ted) (1937–)". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
- "Class actions", Merchant Law Group LLP
- "Tony Merchant law firm files lawsuit against Ottawa".
- "BEST OF 2007". Prairie Dog Magazine. 26 April 2007.
- "Killing the Indians: Canada's Indian Residential Schools". 60 Minutes II. CBS News. 8 May 2001. Retrieved 5 April 2016.