I've used red cedar for ribs in the past. It can be done, but it takes about twice the boiling time as white cedar, and you get maybe 3-4 times the failure rate. Compared to bending western red, white cedar seems actually easy - I suppose it's for good reason white cedar has for generations been the widely accepted standard for ribs in canoes.
Here is a nightmare that is in our shop now. It is a 1962 Chum with Western Red Cedar planking, unusual for a Chestnut. The first 14 ribs at the bow and at the stern are Northern White Cedar and the ribs in the center of the canoe are Western Red Cedar. It will take some creative staining to get the various parts all the same color since we used White Cedar for some replacement ribs.