Hasn't CANVAS been around for a year or two now ? Since Firefox 2's release ?
Has nothing to do with Firefox releases. It's a HTML5 tag.
I remember seeing it and thinking it was not all that easy to use unless you had some third party app to help you create the vector based images and animations.
Nope. Read the link.
And if that was done, then all you would have would be Flash clone that output a format that was not supported in 70+ % of the average users web browser.
Not a flash clone at all. 70% of web browsers means IE and, yes, IE is the only browser that does not support this standard. However, there are some 3rd parties that have released a plugin as I mentioned above.
Coincidentally, a guy I know at Opera just sent me this link. It's almost 3 years old but he said everything still applies except all the modern browsers support both SVG and <canvas> except, as I mentioned, not IE.