Graham Jacobs is among the politicians. Picture: The West Australian/Bill Hatto

WA taxpayers have paid more than $150,000 for WA and Canadian politicians to study each other's parliaments, with "many more" trips on the horizon under a new exchange program.

Six MPs and three parliamentary staff will return tomorrow from a two-week, $13,000-a-head tour of parliaments in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan flying business class and staying in first-class hotels.

Speaker Michael Sutherland said the tour was to "develop best practice processes and procedures" by studying other parliaments, a description analyst Martin Drum said was too vague.

Dr Drum, senior politics lecturer at Notre Dame University, said the public was cynical of such trips, more so before a Budget likely to have higher utility charges and service cuts.

He said the Speaker should be much more explicit about benefits of such trips because broad statements about "best practice processes and procedures" told nothing.

Canada was the second leg of an exchange which began with five MPs and three staff from Saskatchewan visiting Perth in September, for which WA taxpayers picked up $33,000 of the bill.

Canadian taxpayers will pay some costs of hosting the Australians but the WA public will pay an estimated $120,000 of the bill.

In welcoming the Canadian delegation in September, Mr Sutherland said the visit was "the first of what I hope to be many exchanges between our two Parliaments and between WA and western Canada more generally".

The delegation included Labor's Roger Cook and Kate Doust, Liberals Graham Jacobs and Barry House and Nationals Wendy Duncan and Paul Brown.

New Legislative Council clerk Nigel Pratt, Legislative Assembly deputy clerk Kirsten Robinson and executive manager of parliamentary services Russell Bremner went with them.

Mr Sutherland, who did not go to Canada but led a six-member, 12-day delegation to Japan, said it was essential for MPs to exchange ideas.

The West Australian

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