Called to the Senate of Canada on December 12, 2002, Ms. Pana Pappas Merchant is the only Greek born woman to serve in Canada’s Upper Chamber, and the second woman to represent Saskatchewan.
Elementary and junior high school teacher and later businesswoman, Ms. Merchant has played an active role in cultural, political, and advocacy groups in Saskatchewan: Past fundraising chair, Liberal Party of Saskatchewan; executive member of the Mackenzie Art Gallery Volunteers (Regina); Canadian Parents for French; executive member of Regina Immigrant Women Centre;the Greek and other immigrant communities; Canadian Federation of University Women – Regina; the Catholic Women’s League; Honourary Patron of “Swing Soleil” choral group; and numerous community based charities and healthsector organizations. She was a founding Board Member of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (1996) and served on its Board until called to the Senate in 2002. Senator Merchant served two termson The Board of Governors of the World Hellenic Interparliamentary Association.
Senator Merchant and her husband have been strong advocates of First Nations’ rights. Senator Merchant was adopted into the Blackfoot Confederacy with the name “Many Offerings” in an Alberta War Bonnet ceremony (2008); was presented the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002); the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2005); the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012); and honoured at the His Majesty, the Greek Immigrant event (2015) in Montreal, Quebec.
Senator Merchant and her husband, E.F. Anthony Merchant, are long standing patrons of the arts and particularly the visual arts, and through numerous donations 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).
Senator Merchant has had a keen interest in world affairs and over the past 30 years has traveled to over 100 countries to learn and experience firsthand their culture, governance and history. She has twice participated and addressed the Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade held annually in Doha, Qatar under the high patronage of His Highness, the Emir of the State of Qatar (2007 and 2008). She serves as Honourary Patron for Future Achievers International. She is a Director of The Parliamentary Network of the World Bank & IMF.
Senator Merchant was educated in both Greece and Canada. She obtained a B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon) and a Teaching Diploma from the University of Regina. She is fluent in English and Greek and has good facility in French.
Senator Merchant maintains a regional office in Saskatchewan. She is married to Tony Merchant, Q.C.; they have three sons, Evatt, Joshua and Matthew, all practising law.