The teen who became PM for a day

Punjabi-origin Brampton resident Prabjote Lakhanpal sat on the biggest decision-making chair of Canada, courtesy Make-A-Wish Foundation

India At Large staff

Prabjote ‘PJ’ Lakhanpal, 19, had to pinch himself to see if it was true. Who wouldn’t have, considering he got to be PM for a day? In fact, that was just the first surprise planned for him as part of a “VIP itinerary” that includes a tour of Parliament, a swearing-in ceremony, a media scrum following question period, and — in true prime ministerial fashion — getting his own security detail.

The Brampton teen of Punjabi origin is currently in remission following a battle with Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer affecting the body’s immune system. The disease made him a candidate for Make-A-Wish, a foundation that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“It was amazing to go to Parliament Hill in Ottawa as Prime Minister for a day. No one in any other country can even envisage something like this. I never expected all this even in my wildest dreams,” he told The Times of India.

When Lakhanpal learned that he was eligible to be granted a wish, the politics, economics and law buff knew right away he wanted to be the nation’s leader. “I wanted to come up with a wish that was extraordinary that nobody else has ever done and a wish that you can never buy with money, that is priceless essentially,” the York University student told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway recently. “This is not like going to Disney World.”

Talking to The Times of India, PJ says, “I want to pursue law at Osgood Hall Law School. My ultimate goal is to be a politician, my nation’s leader, so that I may serve the people in a better way.” He said he was thankful to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada which made his dream come true. “You know, I’ve battled cancer. There’s nothing worse than that. So, I’m ready to take this on in the future,” he added.

PJ Lakhanpal’s parents and grandparents had migrated from India to Canada from a small town of Punjab, Mandi Ahmedgarh. His father Surinder Mohan Singh Lakhanpal said he came to Canada in 1988 and now runs an auto mechanic shop there.

PJ was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer affecting the body’s immune system. About two and a half years ago, when he was in the hospital, The Make-A-Wish Foundation that grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, made him a candidate for the foundation.

“Prime Minister PJ met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this afternoon in his office to discuss politics, future goals and to share special gifts. They also practiced their official ‘PJ Pose’. Thank you, Prime Minister Trudeau, for granting this magical wish and for helping spread hope, strength and joy! What an exciting day this has been! ‪#‎PjsPMwish‬,” Make-A-Wish Canada was quoted as saying on social media soon after PJ’s wish was fulfilled.


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