Prabjote Lakhanpal, 19-Year-Old Cancer Survivor, Wants To Be Prime Minister

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OTTAWA — Watch out, Justin Trudeau — Prabjote (PJ) Lakhanpal is gunning for your job.

The 19-year-old cancer survivor from Brampton, Ont., says he wants to be prime minister — a job he had the chance to try on for size for a few days as part of an elaborate wish granted by Make-A-Wish Canada.

He can even talk the talk.

When asked if he's serious about seeking the top job someday, Lakhanpal replied, "Just watch me" — former prime minister Pierre Trudeau's famous retort to a question about invoking the War Measures Act in 1970.

Being prime minister "seems like a tough life," but Lakhanpal is confident he's up to the task.

"You know, I've battled cancer. There's nothing worse than that,'' he said. "So, I'm ready to take this on in the future."

Lakhanpal, who prefers to go by his nickname, PJ, is currently in remission following a battle in 2012 with Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the body's immune system. The disease made him a candidate for Make-A-Wish, the famous foundation that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

"You know, I've battled cancer. There's nothing worse than that. So, I'm ready to take this on in the future."

Activities Make-A-Wish had in store this week included a full-day visit to the Supreme Court, a special security briefing, a meeting with Governor General David Johnston and taking the prime minister's seat on a Challenger jet.

He also enjoyed the trappings of the presidential suite at Ottawa's Chateau Laurier hotel.

The York University student said he plans to major in history next year before moving onto law school, and from there a career in law, hopefully leading to a life in politics.

After watching question period from the visitor's gallery in the House of Commons, Lakhanpal experienced the real deal Wednesday, meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his Parliament Hill office.

He also had an impromptu chat in the Commons foyer with Tom Mulcair just before the NDP leader joined the Commons debate about Canada's retooled contribution to the fight against Islamic State militants.

Mulcair wished Lakhanpal well, no matter what he pursues in life.

"I'm hoping that he uses his strength, first of all, to take good care of himself," said Mulcair.

"It's obvious that he's got lots of inner strength as well. I'm looking forward to seeing him play an important role in our society, whatever he decides that's going to be.''

Mulcair suggested a slogan for Lakhanpal's campaign: "PJ for PM."

Lakhanpal's preference? "I like to say, 'Long live Canada.'"

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