'I love politics': Whirlwind week on the Hill for teen 'Prime Minister PJ'
Published Friday, February 19, 2016 9:08AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 19, 2016 5:57PM EST
Many kids dream of becoming a rock star or astronaut, but 19-year-old PJ Lakhanpal aspires to leadership of a different kind.
After battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the Brampton, Ont. teen was finally well enough to travel to Ottawa this week, where he fulfilled his wish to be prime minister.
During Lakhanpal’s trip to Parliament Hill in the nation’s capital, made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Eastern Ontario chapter, he received the full star treatment including a greeting by RCMP security, hanging out on Justin Trudeau’s plane and meeting with both the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. David Johnston.
In an interview on CTV’s Canada AM on Friday, the York University student acknowledged that his wish was unique.
“I guess you can say Parliament is my Disneyland,” Lakhanpal said. “I really wanted this wish because I love politics, I love economics , I love history and I love law. “
But Lakhanpal was in the dark about how his week as prime minister would play out.
“I didn’t want to know anything, just because I wanted to enjoy my wish to the fullest and I thought that the best way to do that was to be surprised,” he said.
Lakhanpal’s visit to the capital included tours of the RCMP’s facilities, Senate chamber and a visit to the Peace Tower. He also spent a full day at the Supreme Court, where he shadowed Justice Russell Brown.
Lakhanpal also managed to create some buzz when he stood in the House of Commons and extended his fist in the air as those around him applauded.
On CTV’s Power Play, Lakhanpal said his salute symbolized strength and unity.
“Me basically extending my arm …is a representation of the aspirations of the Canadian people to reach for the stars, ” Lakhanpal said. “To make the greatest country on earth an even better country.”
As the week wraps up, he says he was not disappointed. “It was fantastic, it was mind-blowing and it left me speechless,” the teen said.
At a news conference in Ottawa Friday, Lakhanpal thanked Canadians for their support in his battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“I both thank and salute you all,” Lakhanpal said, raising his hand in the air. “Long live Canada and long live Canadians.”
Earlier in the week, Lakhanpal met with Trudeau in his office where they exchanged gifts and talked politics and future goals.
So did Trudeau give him any insight into what it is like to hold Canada’s top office?
“We talked about how politics is not an easy game,” Lakhanpal said. He said that Trudeau was "very humble," and that he felt like he was talking to a friend rather than the prime minister.
Lakhanpal’s visit to the capital also included tours of the RCMP’s facilities, Senate chamber and a visit to the Peace Tower. He also spent a full day at the Supreme Court, where he shadowed Justice Russell Brown.
His passion for politics stems from watching the news with his father.
“Over the years I got interested in hearing what the government plans to do,” Lakhanpal said, later adding: “Sometimes when my dad and I would be watching the news we would get into debates on some of these topics.”
So does the teen have political aspirations of his own?