Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel has endorsed Jim Prentice for the provincial Progressive Conservative leadership.

Mandel and Prentice joined forces on Tuesday morning to make the announcement.

The former mayor, who worked with Prentice while he was a federal minister, said he chose to make the endorsement because of “the kind of man he is and the character he has shown.”

Mandel often referred to Prentice throughout his speech as the “soon-to-be premier.”

“I think it’s important that the premier is the leader for the entire province, from rural and urban, north and south, east and west,” Mandel said. “Jim brings that.”

Mandel said he would not support the Wildrose party because much of it is "libertarian."

"He is a progressive conservative and progressive is the most important word," Mandel said. "We are a city that is a very progressive city and we need someone at the helm of this province who will bring great vision and great opportunity for all of us."

Prentice said he would focus on building the transportation network in Edmonton.

Mandel's endorsement comes despite the fact that he and Prentice disagree on the downtown arena deal between the government and city.

Prentice doesn’t believe the provincial government should come forward with the $25-million still needed for the arena project.

“That’s a small issue compared to all the other ones,” said Mandel. “I think that Mr. Prentice and his team have a great vision for what cities can be and the necessity to work with them to create opportunity in our communities.”

Mandel didn’t rule out a return to politics, but for now, said he is only going to help out with Prentice's campaign.