EDMONTON - Proposed legislation in Alberta that would force criminals to pay the health-care costs of their victims is being described as unworkable.

Frank Addario, president of the Criminal Lawyers Association, says the legislation is "a terrible idea" and would do nothing to solve the problems that contribute to crime.

Addario says the move by the Conservative government is "all sizzle and no steak" or "all hat and no cattle."

The Toronto lawyer suggests it's a government effort to distract Albertans from the real issues behind crime.

Laura Stevens, past president of the Alberta Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, says the legislation is unenforceable and "all for show."

Justice Minister Alison Redford says the government is comfortable with the idea of becoming the first province with such a law, but concedes everyone is entitled to challenge legislation.