Alberta Health Minister Ron Liepert says he wants criminals to pay back health care costs.

Liepert has introduced a new bill in the legislature that will give the province the power to sue convicts for health care costs related to their crimes.

"Our caucus does not believe taxpayers should have to foot the health care costs of someone who commits a crime," said Liepert. "We need to send a message that we are going to make you pay if you get involved in criminal activity."

Denise Dubyk's son-in-law was killed by a drunk driver eight years ago. She supports the bill.

"All of this money that is being put out in medical costs doesn't have to happen."

But the idea of going after criminals like impaired drivers for health costs is drawing a lot of criticism.

"I don't know if it could get through the courts," said Ted Woynillowicz of Friends of Medicare. "It does seem to contradict the Canada Health Act. It does impose barriers for medically-necessary services."

Calgary Buffalo MLA Kent Hehr questions why the health minister is bringing forward what is essentially a crime bill.

Bill 48 will also allow the province to attempt to recover health costs from tobacco companies for smoking-related illnesses.