Anthony Merchant

Evatt Francis Anthony "Tony" Merchant, KC (born 1944) is a Canadian lawyer, businessman and former politician. He represented Regina Wascana in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan as a Liberal member. Merchant was named a Queen's Counsel in 1995. He served in the army and naval reserves. Tony Merchant founded the Merchant Law in 1986. He is senior counsel at Merchant Law Group LLP.

Anthony Merchant
Mr. Evatt Francis Anthony Merchant Jr. Q.C.jpg
Member of the Legislative Assembly for Regina Wascana
In office
Preceded byHenry Baker
Succeeded byClinton Oliver White
Personal details
Evatt Francis Anthony Merchant

Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada
Political partyLiberal
SpousePana Merchant
ResidenceRegina, Saskatchewan
Alma materUniversity of Saskatchewan

Personal BackgroundEdit

Merchant is a 5th generation lawyer[1] 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 Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders (died 18 November 1944 and buried at Mierlo War Cemetery, the Netherlands).[2] 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.[3] Tony's father, Evatt graduated from law school at Dalhousie.

Personal lifeEdit

Merchant was born in 1944 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. 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.[4] His wife Pana was a member of Canada's senate (2002–2017).

Professional careerEdit

Anthony (Tony) Merchant's law firm—Merchant Law Group—dealt with over seven thousand claims, through trials and appeals of Indigenous peoples in Canada, who had been students in the Canadian Indian residential school system—a system which closed its last schools in 1996.[5]: 1 [6][7]

Ethical IssuesEdit

Colin Thatcher trialEdit

In 1983, Merchant became involved in the murder trial of Colin Thatcher, a Canadian politician from Saskatchewan who was eventually convicted of murdering his ex-wife, JoAnne Wilson. Merchant was convicted of criminal mischief and reprimanded by the Law Society of Saskatchewan (LSS) for an incident that evolved after Merchant visited the home where Ms. Wilson and Mr. Thatcher's daughter was residing and demanded that the daughter be surrendered to Mr. Thatcher after he murdered his wife.[8] Additionally, Merchant testified at the trial of Mr. Thatcher as a defense witness. Merchant claimed that he had retained certain telephone records relating to calls from himself to Mr. Thatcher after Ms. Wilson was shot, but that there were several unexplained break-ins that resulted in the theft of the records. In his testimony, Merchant implied that the police were looking for the records and may have been behind the break-ins. Merchant subsequently changed his testimony to state that the break-ins had occurred before Mr. Thatcher was arrested, which resulting in the trial judge giving a specific jury instruction in relation to the reliability of Merchant's evidence.[8]

Law Society Disciplinary SanctionsEdit

Merchant had been disciplined by the LSS with a three-month suspension from practicing law in 2012 in relation to a residential school claim.[9]

More recently, in January 2022, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal dismissed a proposed citation and ruled that Merchant had not contravened Law Society regulations.[10]

2013 Offshore LeaksEdit

Merchant's name appeared[11][12] in documents released as part of the Offshore Leaks, a 2013 leak of documents related to offshore accounts that predated the similar 2016 Panama Papers and 2017 Paradise Papers.

The documents revealed that Merchant had transferred $1.7 million into offshore havens.[11] A note in the files stated that the writer had "[r]eceived a letter from Mr. Merchant requesting that we do not disclose now or in the future any information to the authorities in Luxembourg, or anywhere".[12]


In 2007, Merchant was voted the best lawyer in Regina by the Prairie Dog Magazine.[13] Merchant was named a Queen's Counsel in 1995.


  1. ^ "5th Generation Lawyer, Tony Merchant". Lawyers Weekly. 24 (#35). 28 January 2005.
  2. ^ Sands, Richard, The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, archived from the original on 4 December 2010
  3. ^ "Sally Merchant", The Globe and Mail, 13 March 2008, retrieved 5 April 2016
  4. ^ Quiring, Brett (2006). "Malone, Edward Cyril (Ted) (1937–)". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center. Archived from the original on 24 July 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  5. ^ "Personal Credits for Personal or Group Education Services" (PDF), Assembly of First Nations, 2014, retrieved 4 June 2015
  6. ^ Ryan, Sarah (30 January 2015). "Merchant Law Group in legal battle of its own". Global News. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  7. ^ McKay, Mary-Jayne (9 April 2002). "Killing The Indian". CBS News. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  8. ^ a b Woolley, Alice (2012). "Regulation in Practice: The 'Ethical Economy' of Lawyer Regulation in Canada and a Case Study in Lawyer Deviance". Legal Ethics. 15 (2): 243–275. doi:10.5235/LE.15.2.243. S2CID 218769171. SSRN 1976090. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  9. ^ White-Crummey, Arthur (2 October 2020). "Law Society suspends Tony Merchant for 8 months". Regina Leader-Post. Regina. Archived from the original on 3 October 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  10. ^ Evatt Anthony Merchant, 2022 SKCA 2.
  11. ^ a b Shprintsen, Alex (3 April 2013). "Senator's husband put $1.7M in offshore tax havens". CBC News. Canada. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Senator wants answers on colleague's role in offshore account". CBC News. Canada. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  13. ^ "Best of 2007". Prairie Dog Magazine. 26 April 2007.